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The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday refused to reinstate a Florida law that punishes businesses that allow children to attend drag shows.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law the “Child Protection Act” in May banning “children” from any “live adult performances” that feature sexual or lewd conduct. The penalty for restaurants or other venues that violate the law is potential license revocation or even criminal prosecution. Although the law does not explicitly refer to drag shows, it is widely seen as aimed at them.
Hamburger Mary’s Restaurant and Bar in Orlando, Florida, challenged the law in court, claiming it violated the First Amendment right to free speech. The restaurant frequently hosts drag shows, comedy sketches and dancing. In July, a federal judge in Florida temporarily blocked the law from taking effect, and the state of Florida asked the Supreme Court to reinstate it while appeals were heard in lower courts.
But on Thursday afternoon, the court declined to do so by a 6-3 vote, with the court’s three most conservative justices, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch, noting their dissents.
Justice Brett Kavanaugh, joined by Justice Amy Coney Barrett, filed a brief statement, explaining that the state did not raise the First Amendment issue in the case and that the court’s action Thursday “does not indicate so nothing about our view on whether the new Florida law violated the law.” First Amendment.”
Bottom line: For now at least, the High Court has sided with Hamburger Mary’s and other drag shows. Hamburger Mary’s says it “has always marketed itself as a family restaurant. Parents and grandparents often attend shows with their children, and HM leaves it up to parents to determine whether a particular show is appropriate for them.” age of their own child. After the anti-drolling law was passed, age restrictions resulted in 20 percent of the chain’s reservations being canceled, according to the restaurant.
A federal district court recognized that enforcement of the law could threaten the First Amendment rights of all state residents to speak, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit declined to intervene while the case is under appeal.
On Thursday, the High Court also refused to intervene. Until the Eleventh Circuit hears the case in full, the law will not be enforced in the state.
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