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Branson lawmakers vote to restrict drag shows, labeling them 'adult entertainment'

Jason Spencer | Branson Convention and Visitors Bureau

The measure limits drag shows to downtown Branson, although businesses currently hosting drag shows outside of the area can continue to do so.

Drag shows will be restricted in Branson after a board of aldermen vote Tuesday night.

The Branson Board of Aldermen voted four to two on an ordinance requiring drag shows to be held only in the downtown zoning district where adult entertainment is already allowed under city code. Any business currently hosting drag shows that is not located downtown will be allowed to continue doing so.

Many residents have pushed for the restrictions citing Branson’s reputation as a family friendly destination.

Alderman Cody Fenton said he voted against the measure because he represents downtown.

“You know, our downtown’s kind of unique, you know, in that it’s not like other downtowns," he said, "and so, I think, if you step back, the fact that adult entertainment is zoned down there is perhaps problematic and perhaps should be looked at.”

Alderman Chuck Rodriguez also voted against the ordinance. He said before the vote that they took a pledge to uphold the constitution. He said the ordinance goes against citizens’ First Amendment rights, and they were opening themselves up to a lawsuit.

But Branson Board of Alderman member Ruth Denham pointed to city code allowing adult entertainment in the downtown zoning district.

"Did any of us up here have anything to do with it?" she said. "No, but here were are today, so I feel it is extremely appropriate to mirror the adult entertainment with this ordinance. I think this ordinance is a step in the right direction."

Copyright 2023 KSMU. To see more, visit KSMU.

Michele Skalicky has worked at KSMU since the station occupied the old white house at National and Grand. She enjoys working on both the announcing side and in news and has been the recipient of statewide and national awards for news reporting. She likes to tell stories that make a difference. Michele enjoys outdoor activities, including hiking, camping and leisurely kayaking.
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