SUNRISE, FLA. (WSVN) - Democratic lawmakers, including Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and other members of the community spoke around 10 a.m. on Wednesday in opposition to the Florida Senate-passed bill preventing children from attending drag shows. Leaders expressed their concerns on a variety of topics from LGBTQ rights to abortion and gun violence.
“The fog of hate is thick right now in Tallahassee, and the victims of this extremist assault are suffering,” said Wasserman Schultz.
They argue that the language of the bill is too ambiguous, raising concerns that it could lead to a chilling effect on businesses hosting drag shows and even prompt cities in Florida to deny permits for pride parades.
“Florida Senate Republicans amended Senate Bill 14-38 and an additional attack with the criminalization of Pride parades if they feature drag performers even if the organizers were not directly involved,” she continued.
The Republican-controlled Florida Senate passed a controversial bill on Tuesday that would prohibit minors from attending drag shows, even if their parents consent. Under the proposed legislation, organizers and performers could be fined and possibly face criminal charges, including imprisonment, if the performance is deemed “lewd” by authorities.
One parent that was invited to speak called the legislation a slippery slope.
“[If they] hear this rhetoric, they will somehow think there is something wrong with my son’s family because they can’t discuss my family at school,” said Todd Delmay.
Opponents of the bill argue that it infringes on the freedom of expression and would harm the state’s LGBTQ community. The bill will now move to the House for a final vote, and its fate remains uncertain.
Another controversial bill is the six-week abortion ban bill. On Thursday, the Florida House is set to vote on that bill, which will likely become law. Opponents at the gathering spoke on those they lost because they did not have access to abortions.
“I lost a dear friend three months before our high school graduation she had, in the days before Roe v. Wade– had no place to go or no one to help her,” said activist Linda Thompson Gonzalez.
On Monday, many pro-choice activists gathered in Tallahassee to protest after Democratic lawmakers were arrested for trespassing during a protest against the bill.
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