The Texas State Legislature passed a bill on Sunday that would ban the performance of “sexually oriented” shows in front of minors.
The State House approved Senate Bill 12 in an 87-54 vote. If the legislation is signed into law, performers who violate the law could be charged with a Class A misdemeanor and punished with a $4,000 fine or one year in jail. Meanwhile, businesses caught hosting such performances could be fined as much as $10,000.
The Texas State Senate also passed the bill on Sunday, sending it to Republican Governor Greg Abbott’s desk. Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick stated that the legislation “prohibits sexualized performances and drag shows in the presence of a minor.”
“It is shocking to me that any parent would allow their young child to be sexualized by drag shows,” Patrick went on to say before also adding “Children, who cannot make decisions on their own, must be protected from this scourge facing our state.”
The sponsor of the bill, Rep. Matt Shaheen (R-Plano) also spoke out against sexual performances in front of children, remarking “We will not tolerate our children being exposed to explicit, hyper sexualized content from any type of performer in any way in the great state of Texas.”
The legislation would specifically apply to performances that feature nudity, or “the exhibition or representation, actual or simulated, of sexual acts,” as well as to performances that appeal “to the prurient interest in sex … regardless of whether compensation for the performance is expected or received.”
Rep. Mary Gonzalez (D-Clint) spoke out against the legislation, claiming, “The broadness could negatively implicate even the Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders.”
The bill will take effect on September 1, 2023, if it is signed it into law. Meanwhile, several other Republican states, including Tennessee, Arkansas, Florida, and Montana have passed legislation banning sexual drag performances in front of children.