Victory! Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders signs ban on Drag Queen Shows
Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Friday signed into law a bill placing restrictions on what it defines as adult-oriented performances, according to an email from her office.
In its original form, Senate Bill 43 by Sen. Gary Stubblefield, R-Branch, intended to include drag performances under the state's definition of adult-oriented businesses and defined drag performances as ones in which performers exhibit "a gender identity that is different from the performer's gender assigned at birth."
However, amendments stripped down the proposal, merely adding to the existing law prohibiting adult businesses in the proximity of minors. It now defines adult-oriented performances as ones in which a person appears in a state of nudity or purposefully exposes "a specific anatomical area" or "prosthetic genitalia or breasts."
The bill passed the Senate on Wednesday by a vote of 29-6 and was passed on to the governor's desk.
Late last month, Sanders backed the bill as an effective way to protect children from sexual content.
"I think we have to do everything -- I've been very clear and talked about this pretty extensively -- to protect children. I think that's what this bill does," Sanders said on Jan. 25, while the bill was working its way through the Legislature.
Arkansas Governor Sarah Huckabee-Sanders signed in a new law adding restrictions on "adult-orientated performances" in a bill that originally took aim to reclassify drag shows to be in the same category as adult strip clubs and theaters. The conservative lawmaker first targeted drag shows, but she received pushback from the LGBTQ community.
Senate Bill 43 signed by the Republican governor defined "adult-oriented performances" as a performance that features nudity or seminudity, real or simulated sexual activities and be intended to appeal to "prurient" interests, a term that's not defined in the legislation.
Under the legislation, adult performances are now banned from public property or funded "in whole or in part" with public funds. The bill also restricts any admittance of minors to be participating or attending the adult show.