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Putnam County Enacts Measure Some Say Could Restrict Drag Shows

Rainbow flags, a symbol of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) and queer pride and LGBT social movements, waving in the breeze outside the Stonewall Monument in New York City on June 7, 2022.ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images

The Putnam County Commission approved an ordinance Tuesday that could restrict drag shows.

With a 3-0 vote, Putnam County’s commissioners banned minors from seeing certain adult performances in unincorporated areas of the county.

Although the ordinance does not specifically single out drag, opponents say that is the intent.

As written, the law does not appear to prohibit a drag show at a city park in Hurricane where the Putnam Pride festival is scheduled to take place this weekend.

The language of the ordinance is identical to one adopted earlier this month in Jefferson County, West Virginia. 

As the ACLU of West Virginia points out, drag performances are protected speech. Federal courts have recently blocked similar laws in Florida and Tennessee.