Monday, March 8, 2010

No Film Credits for Gays

A Florida state representative wants to exclude movies and TV shows with gay characters from receiving a tax credit if they are filmed in Florida.

Current state law grants tax credits on productions considered “family friendly” — with no smoking, sex, nudity or profane language.

The proposal by Republican Rep. Stephen Precourt of Orlando would increase the credit and expand the field of disqualified productions as those that include any “exhibit or implied act” of nontraditional family values and gratuitous violence.

Precourt says he’s not targeting the gay community but that shows with gay characters would not be something he’d want “to invest public dollars in.”

I have a couple of questions. First, I would like to know how Mr. Precourt defines “nontraditional family values” and what exactly that means. For example, would that exclude making a film version of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn? Huck comes from a non-traditional family, he smokes a pipe, and I assume that when he goes swimming in the Mississippi River, he’s not wearing Ocean Pacific surfer jams. Or what about filming a remake of The Ten Commandments, since there’s a lot of “gratuitous violence” in there, not to mention animal sacrifices and lots of drinking.

Second, since I am a taxpayer in Florida, my money therefore becomes “public dollars,” along with a lot of other members of the rather sizable Florida gay community. I wouldn’t presume to speak for the rest of them, but I’m pretty sure that there are a lot of people within and without the gay community that would have no objection to seeing their money spent on films and TV productions made here in Florida that have gay characters in them. There are also a lot of families in Florida that are just as traditional as any family Mr. Precourt can dream up from his Leave It to Beaver stereotype that have gay people in them — including mine.

Third, if my money isn’t good enough to pay for this tax credit, why should I be paying into the public coffers? Can I get a refund on the money that won’t be going towards the tax credit because I’m gay and therefore not worthy of being considered a full citizen of the state?