NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — A bill potentially affecting the LGBTQ+ community took a step closer to becoming law Wednesday, as it passed a House Finance Subcommittee.

The bill states, “a person shall not provide adult cabaret entertainment for compensation without a valid permit issued by the board.”

It then defines “adult cabaret entertainment” and includes “male or female impersonators” in the description.

Democrats said it’s an attempt from the state to control families and their choices.

“It’s like singling out people for who they are and people are just trying to make a living, trying to take care of their families – not bothering anybody,” House Minority Leader Karen Camper (D-Memphis) said.

But Republicans argue the bill protects children.

“We’ve had some cabaret performances where children were permitted,” Rep. Clay Doggett (R-Pulaski) said. “There were lots of sexually explicit actions and gestures and things that were done in the performance where children were present.”

Equality groups call the bill discriminatory toward the LGBTQ+ community, saying it allows any local leader to deny a permit based on their personal beliefs. Furthermore, they argue it could subject drag shows to citations or fines if, again, a local leader deems a performance obscene.

Doggett, who sponsored the bill, said that isn’t the case. “It doesn’t affect any performance that can be done going forward—It just says that if you’re doing sexually explicit performances, your audience has to be 18 and over.”

His statement leads to the crux of the argument, where Democrats say the definition of “sexually explicit performances” is clearly discriminatory.

“They can say what they want, but the language speaks for itself,” Camper said.

The bill now heads to the House Finance, Ways and Means Committee, which is generally the last stop before the House floor.

Hundreds of bills will be up for debate during the 113th General Assembly. Tennessee lawmakers shared their thoughts on some of the major issues up for discussion at this year’s legislative session.

What lawmakers had to say about: Abortion Ban Clarification | Marijuana Reform | Transgender Therapy and LGBTQ+ Rights | Dept. of Children’s Services | Education | Crime/Public Safety | More

You can also find daily coverage from the session here.