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Arkansas Senate votes to pass drag performance bill

The Arkansas Senate and House have passed Senate Bill 43, which classifies drag performances as an "adult-oriented business."

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — On Tuesday, the Senate gathered and made the decision to pass Senate Bill 43 which classifies drag performances as an "adult-oriented business." 

The bill is aimed at restricting drag shows by putting them in the same category as strip clubs.

The bill passed 29-6 along party lines after debate between state senators.

Sen. Gary Stubblefield (R-Branch), the main sponsor of the legislation, argued that that kids today are "confused about their own gender" and that children have experienced more of the "ugliness of society and of sex that it'd become a secret burden to many of them."

"Sometimes we've lowered our standards when it comes to standing up and calling things out," Stubblefield said. "I had one email me and said that I hated drag queens. That's a lie, I don't hate anybody. I don't hate anybody. I do hate sins."

Sen. Clark Tucker (D-Little Rock), who spoke in opposition of the bill, labeled it a "big government" bill. "It grows government at the expense of freedom and we're going to see over the course of this session how many bills we pass like that."

Tucker also said the proposed law would violate the 1st and 14th amendments of the United States Constitution.

According to the bill, examples of adult-oriented businesses include the following: 

  • adult bookstores or video stores
  • adult live entertainment
  • escort agencies
  • nude model studio
  • massage business with adult services
  • adult motion picture theater
  • adult cabaret

Though the bill passed,  there's still quite the journey ahead for this piece of legislation. It must now head to the House floor, and then it would proceed to the governor.

To view the full draft of the bill, please click here.

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