Supreme Court Refuses To Reinstate Florida Law That Governs Drag Shows

( — The US Supreme Court last Thursday rejected Florida’s request to allow the law making it illegal for children to attend explicit adult performances to take effect while the challenge to the law makes its way through the courts, the Associated Press reported.

Florida officials had asked the Supreme Court to allow the Protection of Children Act to go into effect everywhere except at Hamburger Mary’s, the Orlando restaurant that challenged the law after the law was blocked statewide in the lower courts.

In a 6-3 decision, the Court turned away the state’s emergency request, with conservative Justices Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, and Neil Gorsuch dissenting.

A 3-judge panel with the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals last month upheld a lower court’s ruling blocking the law from being enforced. The Appeals Court found that the Protection of Children Act likely restricted the First Amendment and could not be enforced anywhere in Florida.

The owner of Hamburger Mary’s, which regularly hosts “family-friendly” drag shows on Sundays, challenged the law, arguing that the language was overly broad, vaguely written, and violated the right to free speech.

In their application to the Supreme Court, Florida officials asked the justices to narrow the appeals court’s injunction to apply only to Hamburger Mary’s and not to the entire state, effectively requesting that the law be enforced statewide with one exception.

In a brief opinion, conservative Justice Brett Kavanaugh explained that the narrow issue raised by the state was not one the Supreme Court would ordinarily hear.

Kavanaugh argued that the case brought by Florida was “an imperfect vehicle for considering” whether a district court could “enjoin a government from enforcing a law” against those who are not part of a lawsuit.

Conservative Justice Amy Coney Barrett joined most of Justice Kavanaugh’s opinion.

While the Protection of Children Act does not specifically name drag shows, the sponsor of the legislation previously conceded that the measure was aimed at drag performances.

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