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House GOP introduces bill cutting federal funds for ‘sexually oriented’ events for kids

Rep. Mike Johnson (R-La.) addresses reporters after a closed-door House Republican conference meeting on Tuesday, June 14, 2022.
Greg Nash
Rep. Mike Johnson (R-La.) addresses reporters after a closed-door House Republican conference meeting on Tuesday, June 14, 2022.

More than 30 House Republicans have signed on to a bill to prohibit federal dollars from being used to make “sexually-oriented” materials available to children under the age of 10.

The measure introduced Tuesday by Rep. Mike Johnson (R-La.) would prohibit the use of federal funds to develop and host programs or events for children younger than 10 that contain “sexually-oriented material,” such as drag queen story hours that have recently drawn the ire of conservative politicians and right-wing groups.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) in July filed a federal complaint against a Miami restaurant after a video of a child attending a drag brunch there was circulated widely online. DeSantis in the lawsuit cited a 1947 state Supreme Court ruling that “men impersonating women” in a “suggestive and indecent” fashion constitutes a public nuisance.

Johnson’s bill, titled the “Stop the Sexualization of Children Act,” claims that state and federal agencies including the Department of Defense have in the past used federal funds to promote and host “sexually-oriented events” like drag queen story hours or burlesque shows for children and families.

The legislation explicitly states that taxpayer dollars will no longer fund programs, events or literature that expose children younger than 10 to “nude adults,” stripping or “lascivious dancing.”

The bill has 32 Republican co-sponsors: Reps. Bob Good (Va.), Brian Babin (Texas), Jeff Duncan (S.C.), Vicky Hartzler (Mo.), Doug Lamborn (Colo.), Markwayne Mullin (Okla.), Lauren Boebert (Colo.), Gregory Steube (Fla.), Debbie Lesko (Ariz.), Daniel Webster (Fla.), Ralph Norman (S.C.), Randy Weber (Texas), Van Taylor (Texas), Mary Miller (Ill.), Lance Gooden (Texas), Louie Gohmert (Texas), Glenn Grothman (Wis.), William Timmons (S.C.), Clay Higgins (La.), Steve Womack (Ark.), Tracey Mann (Kan.), John Joyce (Pa.), Scott Franklin (Fla.), Burgess Owens (Utah), Matt Rosendale (Mont.), Russ Fulcher (Idaho), Tom Tiffany (Wis.), Nicole Malliotakis (N.Y.), Doug LaMalfa (Calif.), Andrew Clyde (Ga.), Michael Guest (Miss.) and Dan Bishop (N.C.).

Johnson said in a statement on Tuesday that his bill is necessary to stop a “misguided crusade” led by Democrats to expose the nation’s children to “sexual imagery and radical gender ideology.”

“This commonsense bill is straightforward,” Johnson said. “No federal tax dollars should go to any federal, state, or local government agencies, or private organizations that intentionally expose children under 10 years of age to sexually explicit material.”

Johnson’s bill defines “sexually-oriented material” as depictions, descriptions or simulations of sexual acts, human genitals or “any topic involving gender identity, gender dysphoria, transgenderism, sexual orientation, or related subjects.”

LGBTQ advocates immediately drew comparisons to a new Florida education law barring public school educators from engaging in classroom instruction related to sexual orientation and gender identity – known as the “Don’t Say Gay” law to its critics.

Similar to the Florida law, Johnson’s bill would give parents greater latitude to sue public and private entities that use federal dollars on “sexually-oriented” materials or programs for children.

Any organization that violates the measure more than once within a five-year period will lose access to federal funds for three years.

Tags Department of Defense Don't Say Gay law drag queen story hour LGBTQ Miami Mike Johnson Mike Johnson public nuisance Ron DeSantis Ron DeSantis Sexually explicit material Supreme Court
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