[Mathieu Landretti, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons]

Supreme Court Rules Against Florida Drag Show Law

On Thursday, the Supreme Court denied Florida’s emergency petition to partially reinstate its law that specifically targets drag performances, thereby temporarily impeding the state’s ability to enforce the legislation.

A federal magistrate had previously ruled that the legislation was in violation of the Constitution.

The Republican-led state, pending its appeal, attempted to continue enforcing the law with the exception of the establishment that filed the lawsuit.

In a public dissent, three conservative justices of the Supreme Court—Justices Neil Gorsuch, Clarence Thomas, and Samuel Alito—voted to reinstate the law.

Two additional conservatives, Amy Coney Barrett and Brett Kavanaugh, surprisingly voted with the majority to rule against Florida.

However, both Kavanaugh and Barrett clarified that their votes do not indicate whether they find the law to be constitutional.

An Orlando restaurant and bar that conducts drag shows, Hamburger Mary’s, was sued immediately.

The establishment effectively persuaded a federal judge appointed by Clinton to declare the law null and void on the grounds that it infringes upon the First Amendment.

The judge ruled that the law was unconstitutionally broad and ambiguous, prohibiting Florida from applying it not only to Hamburger Mary’s but to all individuals within the state.

Florida subsequently requested a partial stay of the ruling pending the outcome of the state’s appeal, in order to enable the enforcement of the law on all establishments besides Hamburger Mary’s.

The request was denied by lower courts, prompting the state to file an emergency application with the Supreme Court.

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