A planned drag show brunch at Bay Breeze Café, Bar and Grill in Fairhope could be illegal if Alabama lawmakers pass a recently proposed obscenity bill.
Prism United Fairhope, an LGBTQ youth support group, advertised the show on Sunday, June 4, as "appropriate for all ages." However, that is not the consensus among those concerned with exposing children to men dressing in drag.
House Bill 401 was introduced by several Alabama House Republicans last month. If it becomes law, it will make adult-themed events, such as drag shows, illegal for children to attend.
The bill sponsored by State Reps. Arnold Mooney (R-Indian Springs), Jamie Kiel (R-Rusellville), Scott Stadthagen (R-Hartselle), Mack Butler (R-Rainbow City) and Jim Carns (R-Vestavia Hills) adds language to existing laws that prohibit obscenity concerning minors and amends the definition of sexual misconduct.
"The term [sexual conduct] means: ... Any sexual or gender-oriented material that exposes minors to persons who are dressed in sexually revealing, exaggerated, or provocative clothing or costumes, or are stripping, or engaged in lewd or lascivious dancing, presentations, or activities, including but not limited to topless, go-go, or exotic dancers, or male or female impersonators, commonly known as drag queens or drag kings," the bill reads. "This sexual conduct is prohibited in K-12 public schools, public libraries, and in other public places where minors are present."
Central Pride Alabama previously responded to the bill, calling it harmful and unconstitutional.
Fairhope councilman Jack Burrell told 1819 News the restaurant and organizers are not breaking the law, and although he has heard of people complaining, there isn't much the city can do.
"Really, it's on private property, and I don't think we can do anything," he said. "It's certainly not illegal for someone to dress in drag."
Burrell said if the city hears of any laws being broken, they will respond. However, he said it is the business's right to host lawful events.
"They have constitutional rights," Burrell added. "And you know, we don't want to infringe on their constitutional rights. And the other thing is, a drag show is nothing new. We've had womanless beauty pageants for decades. I mean, I have even seen them at schools at fundraisers. Now, whether those were straight men or gay, I don't know. I don't know if anyone ever even asked if they were straight or gay because it's really none of our business."
Daniel Taylor contributed to this report.
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