Federal judge smacks down Florida’s anti-drag show law: ‘The concern rings hollow’

A federal judge has blocked Florida’s law barring children from attending “adult live performances,” saying the language in the law is too vague and might be unconstitutional, the Tallahassee Democrat reported.

The decision Friday by U.S. District Judge Gregory Presnell in Orlando comes only two days after a North Florida federal court overturned another Gov. Ron DeSantis-backed law prohibiting gender-affirming care in Florida from being covered by Medicaid.


The two decisions undermine a high-profile new law seen by many as targeting the LGBTQ community that DeSantis, a Republican presidential candidate, pushed through the state’s GOP-controlled Legislature.

The law was challenged by Orlando restaurant Hamburger Mary’s, which has hosted drag performances for 15 years, including some labeled as “family friendly.”

Hamburger Mary’s attorneys argued that Florida already had laws on the books preventing minors from being exposed to “lewd, sexually explicit, obscene, vulgar or indecent displays.”

Presnell found that the measure conflicted with a state law that guarantees the rights of parents to make decisions in the best interests of their children. He also said it was likely a violation of free speech rights.

In regards to claims that claims that blocking the law would “harm the public by exposing children to “adult live performances,” Presnell said the “concern rings hollow, however, when accompanied by the knowledge that Florida state law presently and independently… permits any minor to attend an R-rated film at a movie theater if accompanied by a parent or guardian.”

Read it at the Tallahassee Democrat.

Image via Matt Johnson/Flickr

Sky Palma

Before launching DeadState back in 2012, Sky Palma has been blogging about politics, social issues and religion for over a decade. He lives in Los Angeles and also enjoys Brazilian jiu jitsu, chess, music and art.