Florida’s attempt to get its anti-drag statute reinstated was refuse by the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday, giving opponents of the law a win.
A bill that penalizes venues for permitting minors under the age of eighteen to attend. Adult live performances” that feature pornographic or sexually suggestive material. Including exposure to “prosthetic genitals and breasts,” was sign into law by Republican governor Ron DeSantis in May. If the establishments don’t comply, they risk $10,000 in fines, losing their liquor and business licenses, and even criminal charges.
Although the bill’s backer claimed that it specifically targeted drag performances, the legislation doesn’t mention drag acts by name.
Hamburger Mary’s, an Orlando pub and grill that regularly presents family-friendly drag acts. Filed a challenge to the rule in May.
The company claimed in a lawsuit against the state and DeSantis that the statute violated free expression. And that its wording was “vague and indistinct.”
A federal court concurred with Hamburger Mary’s in June. And issued an interim order that prevented the law from going into full force. The U.S Court of Appeals for the 11th District is now considering an appeal filed by the state of Florida against the court’s decision.
In order to restrict the injunction’s application to Hamburger Mary’s alone throughout the appeals process. Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody filed a stay request with the 11th Circuit.
The state petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to have the statute reinstat after the motion was knock down by a split panel of the 11th Circuit. According to Moody, the injunction has left Florida “unable to enforce its statute at all, to the detriment of Florida’s children. And the State’s sovereign prerogative to protect them from harm,” according to a request submitted to the higher court.
The Washington Post reports that Donald A. Donati, the restaurant’s attorney, petitioned the Supreme Court to overturn the legislation, citing Florida’s existing rules prohibiting minors from watching sexually explicit content.
Donati went on to say that although Hamburger Mary’s drag performances are “not harmful to minors.” The law’s ambiguous and wide wording worries restaurant owners about facing legal action for breaking it.
By a decision of 6-3 on Thursday, the Supreme Court again declined to uphold the legislation, according to NPR. Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett issued a statement after the ruling in which they clarified that while the state had not brought up. The First Amendment violation of the statute in its court pleading. The judgment does not represent their personal opinions on the matter.
Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Neil Gorsuch—the three justices who dissented—all said they would have let the statute to go into force.
Monthly Feeds requested a statement from the offices of Moody’s and DeSantis, but did not hear back right away.
While the appeal is pending, the law cannot go into force.