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Florida City Scales Back Pride Over Anti-Drag Law

Florida City Scales Back Pride Over Anti-Drag Law

Port St. Lucie Pride

Gov. Ron DeSantis hasn't signed the anti-drag bill into law yet, but Pride organizers in Port St. Lucie decided to cancel a parade and make its festival 21-and-older.

A Pride event went on in Port St. Lucie, Fla., over the weekend as a 21-and-older event and with no parade due to a pending state law restricting drag performances.

Legislators last week approved a bill barring children from “adult live performances.” It does not mention drag shows but is clearly aimed at them. Local governments would not be allowed to issue permits for shows that could expose children to these performances. Violation could cost a venue its liquor license.

Gov. Ron DeSantis has not signed the bill into law yet, although he is expected to. However, organizers with Pride of the Treasure Coast and city officials decided to take precautions in anticipation of this action.

“The city has decided that with the likelihood that the Governor will sign the latest bill into effect this evening, that we will need to be on the side of caution and has required us to make this necessary change,” Pride of the Treasure Coast posted in its Facebook page Wednesday. The Pride group also agreed there would be no Kid Zone at its PrideFest.

“We hope that everyone understands that this is definitely not what we wanted at all and are working with the city to assure our safety as well as produce a positive event,” the post continued.

City officials noted that if the bill became law and went into effect immediately, there would likely have to be some last-minute cancellations of performances, which “would be more harmful to the event than scaling it back ahead of time,” according to a statement issued by City Attorney James Stokes. There were also concerns that the liquor license provision could be enforced against the MidFlorida Credit Union Event Center, PrideFest’s venue, as well as about the possibility of liquor sales to underage attendees.

If DeSantis signs the bill, Florida would be the second state to enact restrictions on drag performances. Tennessee was the first, and its law is currently blocked by court action.

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