Florida lawmakers have introduced a $75-million tax credit package, seeking to bring “family-friendly” film and TV productions to the state.
And you know what “family friendly” means: gay movies and TV shows need not apply. The proposal excludes productions that feature “non-traditional family values."
The bill’s sponsor, a Republican Senator, explains “non-traditional family values” in his own words: (via the Palm Beach Post):
"Think of it as like Mayberry,” state Rep Stephen Precourt,
R-Orlando, said, referring to The Andy Griffith Show. “That’s when I
grew up — the ‘60s. That’s what life was like. 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?"
Precourt, whose district includes Walt Disney World, said he was not targeting
the gay community by including the term “non-traditional family values”
in his bill. But when asked if shows with gay characters should get the tax
credit, he said, “That would not be the kind of thing I’d say that we
want to invest public dollars in.” (read more at the Palm Beach Post)
It’s all very disturbing, but Florida already requires films and TV shows to be “family friendly” in order to receive a two percent tax credit. The new incentive would increase the credit to five percent of production costs, but it would also expand the list of banned topics, says the Palm Beach Post.
According to the text of the bill:
"Family-friendly productions are those that have cross-generational appeal; would be considered suitable for viewing by children age five or older; are appropriate in theme, content and language for a broad family audience; embody a responsible resolution of issues; and do not exhibit or imply any act of smoking, sex, nudity, non-traditional family values, gratuitous violence, or vulgar or profane language.”
Sound kinda familiar?
In 2008, the Harper government tried to sneak through a cultural censorship clause in the omnibus Bill C-10. The provision would have allowed the heritage minister to deny tax credits to films or TV shows that were deemed to be “offensive” or “contrary to public policy.” After outrage from artists, queers and just about anyone opposed to censorship, the Tories dropped the provision.
However, the whole ordeal served at least one useful purpose: it once again exposed the Harper government’s ties with Canada’s religious right.
Evangelical Christian activist Charles McVety (pictured above) claimed to have influenced the Tories’ decision to introduce the censorship clause. Weeks later, he appeared before a Senate committee and decried government tax credits for gay films.
"Go watch Breakfast with Scot,” said McVety, president of the anti-gay
Canada Family Action Coalition. “Tell me that’s not training a child to
be a homosexual.”
Read more about Bill C-10, from our archives:
- Tories ditch film censorship clause
- Rightwing activist decries tax credits for gay films
- C-10 could threaten gay films and TV shows: NDP MP Bill Siksay
- Heritage minister ‘hates’ C-10, says Conservative senator
- C-10 is censorship, no doubt about it
- C-10 reveals Harper’s hidden agenda