Florida bans movies with "non-traditional" themes from receiving tax incentives for shooting in the state

The problem with the language is that it negates anything "non-family friendly,” which could include anything from same-sex themes and interracial coupling, to single mothers raising their child without the help of a father. The Palm Beach Post asked Precourt whether movies with gay characters could qualify as “family friendly,” to which he replied, “That would not be the kind of thing I’d say that we want to invest public dollars in.” Precourt’s own idea of what is "family friendly" hinges on the fictional old TV town in the Andy Griffith Show. “Think of it as like Mayberry. 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?"

Do you remember the Andy Griffith Show? Why would we want to encourage people to make movies beholden to a code of behavior that's a relic from an older, less ethnically and sexually tolerant time? With society evolving — hopefully for the better, though the jury still seems to be out — why would anyone want to take a cultural step back in the world of cinema? With limitations like thise imposed by the modified incentives language, who is going to want to make their movie here and what kind of movies will be the result?

There is currently a petition going around trying to reverse the ban on tax credits for LGBT-supportive films by an organization called Florida Together. Member Ted Howard told the Post, “Instituting 1950s-style movie censorship does nothing to support real-life families or help Florida's struggling economy." He also cited USA TV show Burn Notice, which films in Miami, and could lose out on some of the tax credits the show currently enjoys, possibly forcing the show to cut back or even relocate to a more tolerant state.

And if that happens, we all lose.

In an effort to attract filmmakers to the Sunshine state, the Florida legislature has in place financial incentives for people who make their movie here. These incentives include tax breaks and sometimes even grants, but thanks to State Rep. Stephen Precourt (R-Orlando, pictured right), the rules on who is eligible for these dollars have been modified. The original rules gave producers a five percent tax break for “Family Friendly Movies,” describing them as something that has “cross generational appeal, and something suitable for ages 5 and older, with a broad family appeal, prohibiting smoke, sex, profane language and nudity.” The revised language added by Rep. Precourt adds the words “non-traditional values” and “gratuitous violence” to the description of films not eligible for the incentives.

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