MIAMI — Florida lawmakers are considering a “family friendly” bill that would deny tax credits to films and television shows with gay characters in favour of those promoting traditional values.
The proposal, which has fuelled a heated controversy for its discriminatory nature, would increase current tax credits from two to five percent of productions costs for shows considered “family friendly.”
Those productions are defined as films or TV shows with a “cross-generational appeal” that includes a “responsible resolution of issues.” Smoking, profanity, nudity and sex are also out, along with what the state’s sex crime laws define as “obscene.”
The little-known provision was slipped into a 75-million-dollar incentive package that Republican leaders who hold the majority in the state House of Representatives hope will bring more entertainment industry jobs to Florida.
“I want Florida to be known for making those kinds of movies: Disney movies for kids and all that stuff. Like it used to be, you know?” Republican state Representative Stephen Precourt told The Palm Beach Post.
Precourt, whose district includes Walt Disney World, denied his bill targeted gays by using the term “non traditional family values.”
Yet when asked whether shows with gay characters should receive the tax credit, he said “that would not be the kind of thing I’d say that we want to invest public dollars in.”
Gay rights groups have blasted the proposed legislation, saying it subsidizes discrimination.
“Instituting 1950s-style movie censorship does nothing to support real-life families or help Florida’s struggling economy,” said Ted Howard, executive director for Florida Together, a coalition of 80 groups that advocate for equal rights.
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