Supreme Court Halts Florida Law Against Drag Shows During Appeal



The US Supreme Court has ruled that Florida cannot enforce a law targeting drag shows while a related court case proceeds. The law, backed by Republican Governor Ron DeSantis, penalises venues for allowing children into what it labels as “adult live performances.” The legislation, which does not specifically mention drag shows, has faced criticism for being overly broad and vaguely written, and for potentially violating First Amendment rights.

Supreme Court Denies Florida’s Enforcement of Anti-Drag Show Law

The Supreme Court has ruled that Florida cannot enforce its new law targeting drag shows while a court case proceeds. This decision upholds a lower-court order that has prohibited the law from being enforced statewide. Florida had proposed to enforce its anti-drag show law everywhere except at the Hamburger Mary’s restaurant in Orlando, which initially challenged the law’s constitutionality.

Three justices, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, and Clarence Thomas, expressed that they would have granted the state’s request. Last month, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court’s order stopping the law from being enforced, arguing that the law likely restricted free speech.

Hamburger Mary’s, known for hosting family-friendly drag shows, claimed that the law violated First Amendment rights due to its vague nature and overly broad reach. The new law, championed by Republican Governor Ron DeSantis, who is running for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination, aimed to penalize venues that allowed children into “adult live performances” and was widely believed to target drag shows.

Venues violating the law could face hefty fines and risk their liquor licenses being suspended or revoked. Individuals could also be charged with a misdemeanor crime.

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