A proposed bill in the Utah legislature would require shows and events on public property to post warning signs about “adult themes” and “adult content.” The bill is facing backlash from activists who say it goes it too far and compels speech.
Republican Representative Colin Jack introduced House Bill 329, which requires any event that has been granted a permit on public property, such as a park or concert venue, to provide notice of adult themes to attendees.
“If a public entity grants an event permit for an event that the public entity determines, in the public entity’s discretion, is an event with an adult theme, the public entity shall provide notice of possible adult content to members of the public who may view or otherwise be exposed to the event with an adult theme,” the bill reads.
An adult theme, the bill says, could be an event that includes “nudity, sexual content or excessive profanity.”
“The overriding issue is protecting children from adult-oriented entertainment,” said Rep. Jack in an interview with Fox 13.
The bill “[gives] parents information so they can decide whether they’re bringing their children to a particular event. The thing we’ve been very careful with this bill is to not infringe on First Amendment rights,” the Republican added.
However, an LGBT activist group called Equality Utah says that despite the bill not mentioning drag queen shows, it still appears to be about them.
This is in relation to a recent drag show event in a public park that was featured on HBO. As a result, a local city manager in St. George, Utah, resigned.
“It is in response to the controversies, right?” clarified Rep. Jack, adding that he hopes the bill “save controversies while giving parents the ability to protect their children and either take them to a show or not take them to a show.”
Policy director for Equality Utah Marina Lowe says she worries about government-compelled speech, calling it a “trap” for public entities.
“There’s just really vague language in this bill about what constitutes an adult event,” Lowe said.
Lowe told Fox 13 that her group was worried about “adult” labels being anti-free-speech, saying that it opens up public entities for lawsuits if an event feels it has been mislabeled.
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