High Court Denies Reinstatement of Florida’s Drag Show Law

(HorizonPost.com) – The Supreme Court last week rejected a request from Florida officials to allow a law prohibiting children from attending explicit adult performances to be enforced in the state while a legal challenge to the measure is making its way through the courts, the Associated Press reported.

Florida’s Protection of Children Act, which Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law in May, would have barred children from attending all live adult performances that are deemed explicit, including drag shows.

Hamburger Mary’s, an Orlando restaurant that regularly features “family-friendly” drag shows, challenged the law, arguing that the overly broad language was vaguely written and designed to chill free speech.

Last month, a panel from the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court’s ruling that blocked the law from being enforced statewide. In its decision, the panel said the law likely violated the First Amendment.

In an emergency request to the Supreme Court, Florida asked the justices to allow the law to go into effect statewide except at Hamburger Mary’s.

But in a 6-3 decision, the majority of justices rejected the state’s emergency request, including conservative Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett.

Fellow conservative Justices Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, and Neil Gorsuch dissented.

In a short opinion rejecting the question, Justice Kavanaugh wrote that the narrow issue raised by Florida officials was not one the Court would typically hear. He argued that Florida’s request would be an “imperfect vehicle” to determine whether a district court can “enjoin a government from enforcing a law” for those who are not part of a legal challenge to the law.

Justice Barrett signed on to most of Kavanaugh’s opinion.

The Protection of Children Act does not specifically cite drag shows as live performances from which children should be barred. However, the sponsor of the legislation previously said that the bill was aimed at explicit drag performances.

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