On June 7, Rexburg resident Kelly McKamey gave a presentation at the Rexburg City Council meeting asking the council to write an ordinance to keep drag queen performances out of the public square.
He presented an overview of the history of drag, beginning during the Civil War era and continuing on to the present day.
“Sexual grooming is what this is all about,” McKamey said. “If you break the normal barriers that children have when they are revolted by things, you start to normalize their exposure to graphic sexualization. That … reduces their ability to resist being molested.”
McKamey requested that the city fashion its ordinance after the state‘s preexisting statutes. Idaho state code title 18 chapter 15 specifies obscene materials which minors may not legally be exposed to.
“I think all of us, speaking for the council and myself, are really close with your ideals,” said Mayor Jerry Merrill following McKamey’s presentation.
The city is concerned about facing lawsuits if this ordinance is written incorrectly, but wants to do everything it can to protect minors. The city will begin working on the ordinance immediately, according to Merrill.
A federal judge recently ruled a Tennessee law restricting drag shows unconstitutional for being vague and overly broad, according to an article by CBS. According to the article, the law would have accomplished what the proposed Rexburg ordinance will attempt to do: prohibit adult drag performers from any public space where a minor could be present.
Public comments lasted two hours and included concerns from 18 residents of Rexburg and the surrounding area.
The comment period included parents, grandparents, bible readings and perspectives from a member of the LGBTQ community all voicing concerns in the same vein: Minors should not be exposed to drag.
“I think for next year that we will see a change,” said Ezok Villalva, a sophomore studying economics at BYU-Idaho, who also gave public testimony. “Not because of the city, but because of the state legislation that is going to be going through in the next legislative session.”
Idaho House Bill 265, a law that will prohibit drag shows containing any sexual content from public parks and venues, passed the House March 8 and is paused until considered by the Senate next legislative session.