Ron DeSantis’s Anti-LGBTQ+ Crusade Fails Again as Florida Can’t Enforce Drag Ban
Author: Jacob Ogles
A federal appeals court said an anti-drag law signed by Florida’s Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis this year can’t be enforced.
Hamburger Mary’s, an Orlando restaurant that hosts a drag brunch weekly, challenged the law claiming it violates businesses’ First Amendment rights. U.S. District Judge Gregory Presnell struck down the law in June.
Attorneys for the state have appealed that ruling, and asked for a stay on the decision until the matter gets resolved. But the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in a 2-1 decision denied the request and said Presnell’s ruling will likely survive appeals.
Presnell determined the law, which prohibits businesses from admitting minors to loosely defined live adult performances, “creates an unnecessary risk of chilling free speech.”
Federal appellate judges Adalberto Jordan and Robin Rosenbaum say Presnell’s ruling need not be put on hold while the case gets appealed. Notably, the dissenting judge in the decision, Andrew Brasher, ruled he would allow broad enforcement of the law for now but would still say the state cannot enforce the statute against Hamburger Mary’s, the Orlando Sentinel reported.
Presnell suggested in a July order the state was unlikely to prevail In court under any circumstances based on prior case law.
“Protecting the right to freedom of speech is the epitome of acting in the public interest,” Presnell wrote. “It is no accident that this freedom is enshrined in the First Amendment. This injunction protects plaintiff’s interests, but because the statute is facially unconstitutional, the injunction necessarily must extend to protect all Floridians.”
Attorneys for DeSantis’ administration argued they should still be allowed to threaten the business licenses of businesses that let minors into certain performances.
“In granting broader relief, the district court irreparably harmed the state by ordering it to refrain from enforcing a duly enacted law designed to protect children from exposure to age-inappropriate, sexually explicit live performances,” a filing from the state reads.
The bill was among several anti-LGBTQ laws DeSantis signed as he prepared to launch his presidential campaign. Florida Rep. Randy Fine, a Republican, said during the legislative session he was inspired to write the law because of plans for a drag queen story hour at a Pride event in his district.
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Original Article on The Advocate
Author: Jacob Ogles