Florida Pride Parade Canceled Over Law Protecting Children

A Florida pride parade is canceled amid organizers’ outrage over a Florida bill prohibiting children from being present at explicit performances.

The Pride Alliance of the Treasure Coast posted on Facebook that conversations with Port St. Lucie officials led to the cancellation of the gay pride parade. Other events were restricted to those 21 years and older.

The organization wrote that they “are obviously upset and dishearten[ed] that it has come to this.”

It added that there would soon be an announcement for a “family friendly Party in the Park” where “our youth can celebrate who they are.”

The reason? The Florida House on Wednesday sent a bill to Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis’ desk preventing kids from attending drag shows. After passing the state Senate, SB 1438 breezed through the House with an 82-32 vote that followed party lines.

It was fueled by DeSantis’ measures to protect children such as filing a complaint against a Miami hotel for hosting a “Drag Queen Christmas” in December.

DeSantis’ administration is working to pull the liquor license of the hotel over allegations that children were present during inappropriate displays by performers.

A reading of the new law’s language starkly reveals why groomers are so up in arms over its passage. Venues are prohibited from allowing children entry to view “adult live performances.”

These are legally defined as a show or presentation that in whole or part “depicts or simulates nudity, [adult] conduct, excitement, or activities, lewd conduct, or the lewd exposure of prosthetic or imitation genitals or breasts.”

Simple and straightforward.

Florida state Rep. John Snyder (R) told reporters that nothing in the new law bans a pride parade. “What we are focused on is a common sense approach, standing up for the protection and innocence of our children.”

Pridefest organizer Shelita Taylor told local media that the event was the “one date a year where they can go out and just openly be themselves.” Taylor said that opportunity was lost “because of bigotry and hate.”

Local governments are barred from granting public permits for events where this type of behavior is carried out. Restaurants, bars, and other venues that violate this law may have their licenses yanked by state regulators.

The House also approved SB 254 to prevent doctors from providing hormone therapy and puberty blockers to minors. The bill was previously approved by the Senate but was amended by the lower chamber, meaning the Senate has to have another vote.