Justice Brett Kavanaugh, partly joined by Justice Amy Coney Barrett, stressed the Court was not dealing with the First Amendment questions but rather the more procedural issues.
DeSantis signs LGBTQ+ bills for kids into law
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed bills Wednesday that ban gender-affirming care for minors, target drag shows, restrict discussion of personal pronouns in schools and force people to use certain bathrooms. DeSantis has made anti-LGBTQ+ legislation a large part of his agenda as he prepares to seek the Republican presidential nomination. (May 18)
WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court on Thursday denied a request by Florida officials to let the state enforce a law that placing prohibitions on drag shows.
The case deals with a law signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis earlier this year aimed at restricting drag shows where children are present. An Orlando bar called Hamburger Mary’s sued, asserting those prohibitions violated the First Amendment.
DeSantis, who is running for the GOP presidential nomination, signed a series of conservative bills aimed at LGBTQ+ rights earlier this year. In a statement released at the time he signed the bill, the governor said the legislation made Florida a “citadel of normalcy” as the rest of the world “goes mad.”
Jeremy Redfern, a DeSantis spokesperson, said the governor’s office is “disappointed in this particular ruling” but noted that the Supreme Court “did not opine on the merits of our law protecting children” and predicted that the law would ultimately “be upheld on the merits.”
A federal district court sided with the bar and restaurant, ruling that the law likely violated the First Amendment. By the time the case reached the Supreme Court, the question was more technical: Whether the lower courts had erred by barring enforcement of the new statewide rather than just the restaurant that sued.
Justice Brett Kavanaugh, in a statement partly joined by Justice Amy Coney Barrett, stressed that the Supreme Court was not dealing with the First Amendment questions but rather the more procedural issues of how the lower courts handled the case.
The Florida law makes it a crime to allow a child to attend what the state describes as “sexually explicit live performances.” Hamburger Mary’s frequently hosts drag show performances, comedy sketches, and dancing − none of which are age-restricted.
“HM is and has always marketed itself as a family restaurant,” the restaurants attorney told the Supreme Court earlier this month. “Parents and grandparents often attend shows with their children, and HM leaves it up to parents to determine whether a particular show is appropriate for the age of their own child.”
Three conservative justices – Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch – said the law would have allowed the state to enforce the law for now. They did not explain their position.