Montana gov. signs bill banning drag queen story hours at public schools, libraries – LifeSite

HELENA, Montana (LifeSiteNews) — Montana Governor Greg Gianforte has signed a bill into law that bans drag queen readings at public schools and libraries.

On Monday, the Republican governor enacted House Bill 359 which states that “[a] school or library that receives any form of funding from the state may not allow a sexually oriented performance or drag story hour … on its premises during regular operating hours or at any school-sanctioned extracurricular activity.”

The bill, co-sponsored by more than half of the Republican-controlled state legislature, also restricts minors from attending any “sexually oriented performance,” including in private businesses.

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The legislation aimed at protecting children from sexualization and gender ideology was initially passed in February by the Montana House of Representatives in a 66-33 vote.

Rep. Braxton Mitchell, one of the bill’s co-sponsors, said that drag queens performing for minors were pushing a “sick agenda” and that these shows are “damaging to a child’s psychology and general welfare.”

READ: Montana becomes latest state to ban transgender drugs, surgeries for children

In February, Democrat Minority Leader Kim Abbott stated: “I’m going to object today every time we’re equating a drag performance to sexualizing children,” adding that “I just want the body to know that we can do it all day long.”

Democrats attempted to add an amendment to the legislation that would have replaced references to “drag” with “adult-oriented performance,” in order to “clarify the intent of the bill and focus on restricting children from age-inappropriate performances,” NBC Montana reported.

Mitchell noted that this amendment “completely derails the intent of the legislation” and called on representatives to oppose it. The Democrat motion was rejected in a 58-42 vote.

READ: Montana governor signs laws defining sex as only male and female, protecting parents’ rights

An Associated Press report noted that drag queen performances do not require an explicitly sexual element, which would be subject to interpretation in order to be banned in Montana. The legislation explicitly forbids “drag story hour,” which is defined as “an event hosted by a drag queen or drag king who reads children’s books and engages in other learning activities with minor children present.”

This is likely meant to avoid future discussions and legal disputes about whether or not a drag queen story hour actually contains a sexual element, as Democrats and LGBT activists often claim that these shows are not sexualized.

READ: Pro-family activists protest Austria’s first drag queen story hour targeting children

The drag queen story hour concept was created by the LGBT activist group RADAR Productions and radical feminist author Michelle Tea in San Francisco in 2015. Since then, these ideological shows targeting young children have been exported all over the U.S. and the world.

In recent months, the backlash against drag queen shows for children has led other Republican-led states, including Florida and Tennessee, to ban the harmful practice.

READ: Tennessee governor signs laws banning drag queen shows and ‘gender transitions’ for children