Florida Takes Drag Show Ban to Supreme Court

(IntegrityPress.org) – Efforts to protect children in the Sunshine State are headed to the nation’s highest court. Florida’s Protection of Children Act, which barred minors from being present at adult-themed performances like drag shows, allowed the state to both levy fines and revoke the operating licenses of businesses who failed to adhere to the new standard.

State legislators passed the bill in April and it was signed into law two months later by Governor Ron DeSantis. Only one month after that, the act was challenged in a lawsuit. The litigant, Orlando’s Hamburger Mary’s restaurant, claimed that the law was a First Amendment violation.

Mary’s was known to frequently hold the equivalent of drag show brunches and their suit alleged that their volume of business had been adversely affected by the new statute. A federal judge quickly seconded their assertions and chose to sign off on a precursory injunction.

In response to the ruling, the state’s Attorney General Ashley Moody said that police are “unable to enforce” the “statute at all.” The court’s decision is a “detriment” to “Florida’s children,” she said. Local officials are no longer able “to protect” minors “from harm,” Moody added.

Melanie Griffin, who helms the state agency that oversees business regulation and practices, has chosen to petition Justice Clarence Thomas with a late-October emergency request asking for the law to be partially reimplemented while they wait for the lawsuit to play itself out.

Under Griffin’s proposal, Hamburger Mary’s would be the only venue in the state to be temporarily exempt from the regulation. Thomas could feasibly act on the matter independently, ignore it altogether or refer it to his entire body of colleagues.

As to specifics of the law, “adult live performances” are defined as “any” live “show” that “depicts” both “in part” or “in whole” an act that “simulates nudity,” intimate “conduct,” intimate “excitement,” distinct carnal “activities, lewd conduct” or the display of synthetic “genitals” and “breasts.”

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