The Supreme Court won’t allow Florida to enforce the new law against drag shows on appeal

The Supreme Court will not allow Florida to enforce its new law against drag shows while a lawsuit is pending

By means ofThe Associated Press

November 16, 2023, 4:13 PM

The U.S. Supreme Court will be seen in Washington on Wednesday, November 15, 2023. (AP Photo/Mariam Zuhaib)

The Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court said Thursday that it will not allow Florida to enforce its new law against drag shows while a lawsuit is pending.

The justices declined to limit a lower court order that bars the law from being enforced statewide.

Florida had asked the court to allow the law against drag shows to be enforced everywhere except at the Hamburger Mary’s restaurant in Orlando, which questioned the law’s constitutionality.

Three justices, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch and Clarence Thomas, said they would have granted the state’s request.

Last month, a panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court order preventing the law from being enforced. The court ruled that the law likely limited freedom of speech and could not be enforced anywhere in the state.

Hamburger Mary’s regularly hosts drag shows, including family-friendly performances on Sundays to which children are invited. The restaurant’s owner said the law was overbroad, vaguely written and violated First Amendment rights with chilling statements.

The new law, championed by Republican Governor Ron DeSantis, who is running for the Republican Party’s 2024 presidential nomination, penalized venues for allowing children to attend what they called “live adult performances.” While it did not specifically address drag shows, the legislation’s sponsor said it was aimed at those performances.

Venues that violated the law faced fines and the possibility of having their liquor licenses suspended or revoked. Individuals can be charged with a crime.