CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. — The Jefferson County Commission Thursday narrowly passed an ordinance that would prohibit anyone under 18 from attending live performances that depict, discuss, or simulate lewd behavior

The action has already drawn reaction from the West Virginia chapter of the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union)

The ordinance posits that minors attending Adult Live Performances “constitutes an immediate, serious danger to the public health, safety, or welfare.”

Citing state code that authorizes county commissions to enact ordinances to eliminate hazards to the public health and safety, the text of the ordinance goes on to define Adult Live Performance as “any show, exhibition, or other presentation in front of a live audience which, (i) in whole or in part (a) is obscene as defined in WV Code §7-1-4(4), (b) depicts, discusses or simulates nudity, sexual conduct, sexual excitement, masturbation, specific sexual activities, lewd conduct, or ( c) contains the lewd exposure of real, prosthetic, or imitation genitals, buttocks, or breasts, (ii) appeals to the prurient interest, (iii) lacks serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value, and (iv) is patently offensive to the prevailing standards in the adult community of what is appropriate for a minor child.”

The ordinance prohibits such performance in the county in front of minors. It also prohibits the allowing of minors to be in attendance at such performance. Those in violation are subject to a misdemeanor charge with a possible $500 fine and/or up to thirty days in jail. Those penalties would increase with subsequent infractions.

The West Virginia chapter of the ACLU posted a statement Thursday noting the ordinance was passed on the first day of Pride month, which celebrates those in the LGBTQ community.

“Drag is a celebrated art form that is protected by the First Amendment,” according to the ACLU-WV

The statement promised, “If this ordinance is used in any way to quell the rights of performers, we will not hesitate to take swift action.”

The ACLU-WV statement acknowledges that the ordinance does not outlaw Drag, but says “these laws are designed to create confusion and chill free speech.”