On Thursday, the Supreme Court temporarily blocked Florida from enforcing a law that would punish venues for allowing children to attend drag shows.
The ruling is a blow to Florida’s Republican governor, Ron DeSantis, who championed the so-called Child Protection Act, a law that makes it a first-degree misdemeanor to admit children to sexually explicit adult live shows, such as drag shows
The measure, signed into law by DeSantis in May as part of a broader legislative package targeting gender reassignment surgery for children, sexual orientation and gender identity instruction in schools and gender-neutral bathrooms, was blocked by the judge of Florida district, Gregory Presnell, in June.
Presnell ruled that the statute “is specifically designed to suppress the speech of drag queens” and that existing obscenity laws give the Sunshine State “the authority necessary to protect children from any constitutionally unprotected obscene exhibition or performance.”
The Supreme Court refused to limit a lower court’s injunction related to the application of the law. Getty Images DeSantis signed anti-drag bill into law in May.ZUMAPRESS.com
Three justices, conservatives Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch, indicated they would have allowed the law to be implemented.
Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett wrote the high court statement explaining the ruling, noting that the court denied Florida’s request for a stay because it is unlikely to take up the case based on the state having challenged the court’s ruling. lower.
“To begin with, although Florida strongly disagrees with the District Court’s First Amendment analysis, Florida’s request for a stay before this Court does not raise that First Amendment issue,” the justices wrote. “Therefore, the Court’s denial of the stay indicates nothing about our view of whether Florida’s new law violates the First Amendment.”
The lawsuit against the state was filed by the popular Orlando restaurant Hamburger Mary’s, which had hosted “family-friendly” drag shows on Sundays.
The new law has forced them to prohibit children from participating in all shows.
The restaurant, in its lawsuit against the Sunshine State, claimed that the state is depriving the company of its First Amendment rights to free speech.
Florida had asked the Supreme Court to limit the injunction to the state level so that the law could apply to all companies except Hamburger Mary’s.
The Supreme Court could take up the case after the appeal process plays out in a lower court. REUTERS
Kavanaugh and Coney Barrett acknowledged that whether district courts have the power to prevent the enforcement of a law against non-parties is “an important question that could warrant our review in the future,” but argued that the case is a “vehicle.” imperfect” to answer that question.
Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody has argued that because of the lower court order, the state is “incapable of enforcing its statute at all, to the detriment of Florida’s children and the State’s sovereign prerogative to protect them.” of any damage.”
Moody’s office did not respond to the Post’s request for comment.
The case has been returned to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for full appeal, after which it could return to the high court.