FRANKFORT, Ky. (FOX 56) — The bill that would restrict adult-oriented performances from being 1,000 feet from places that cater to minors in Kentucky passed the full Senate 26-6 on Friday.
Senate Bill 115 would restrict drag shows, and opponents said it could also jeopardize pride celebrations in the Commonwealth.
As supporters push the bill forward, schools and theaters are concerned about their performances when it comes to women playing male characters.
“There is nothing against the first amendment in this bill, but it does close that gap of how far do we want to go,” said Sen. Adrienne Southworth (R-Lawrenceburg). “If it’s already protected, it’s protected. School plays have long been protected by the first amendment. This bill is not going to change that.”
The bill’s lead sponsor, Sen. Lindsey Tichenor (R-Smithfield), said this bill was not meant to harm children, it’s meant to protect them. She said the intent is to restrict these types of adult performances to adults.
“Counties across the state are seeing more and more events that, in the past, were held before adult audiences but now are being introduced to the general public as appropriate for all ages,” said Tichenor.
The bill is one of at least 10 pieces of legislation up for debate in Frankfort related to the LGBTQ community.
“At some point, I want someone to answer that question to me, ‘What are we afraid of?,” said Sen. Reginald Thomas (D-Lexington). “Cause this bill, as it’s been already articulated, is definitely against and attacking them once again, as we’ve done two other times already. They’re just like us. They’re human beings with the same emotions and feelings and passions and sensitivities as we are. Yet, what we’ve done this session is just constantly demonized them, and I’m just left with the question, ‘Why?’”
Senate Bill 115 will now move to the House with only a few days remaining in 2023’s 30-day legislative session. Republicans have supermajorities in both chambers.