The Supreme Court has rejected a request from the state of Florida to partially halt a recent court order preventing the enforcement of a state law that bans minors from attending drag shows.
The law, known as the Protection of Children Act, was signed by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis last May and prohibits minors from witnessing an “adult live performance” depicting or simulating nudity, sexual conduct, sexual excitement, or specific sexual activities.
Following the signing of this law, Hamburger Mary’s, a restaurant hosting “family-friendly” drag shows, challenged the law by arguing it violates their First Amendment rights. A U.S. District Court issued a preliminary injunction against the law, stating that its language was overly broad and contradicted Florida’s Parents’ Bill of Rights, which grants parents the authority to direct the upbringing and moral or religious training of their children.
“Existing obscenity laws provide [the state] with the necessary authority to protect children from any constitutionally unprotected obscene exhibitions or shows,” U.S. District Judge Gregory Presnell wrote in the decision. “The harm to [Hamburger Mary’s] clearly outweighs any purported evils not covered by Florida law and a preliminary injunction would not be adverse to the public interest.”
Florida recently sought the Supreme Court’s intervention to overturn the lower court’s decision and allow the law to stay in place. However, the Supreme Court has declined to take in the case. A joint statement between Justice Brett Kavanaugh and Justice Amy Coney Barrett clarified that the court’s refusal to take this case does not mean it has taken a stance on whether or not the law violated the First Amendment.
“The issue arises here in the context of a First Amendment overbreadth challenge, which presents its own doctrinal complexities about the scope of relief,” Justice Kavanaugh wrote. “This case is therefore an imperfect vehicle for considering the general question of whether a district court may enjoin a government from enforcing a law against nonparties to the litigation.”
This piece first appeared at TPUSA.