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Supreme Court Shoots Down Florida's Discriminatory Anti-Drag Show Law

On Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected Florida's attempt to enforce a state law that imposes restrictions on drag show performances, which critics argue violates freedom of speech.

The law, known as the Protection of Children Act, criminalizes admitting minors to "adult live performances" deemed sexually explicit by the state. Lower courts had previously blocked the law statewide, and the Supreme Court's majority, without providing reasoning, declined Florida's emergency request.

The measure is widely viewed as part of a conservative campaign against LGBTQ rights, with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who recently signed another bill restricting transgender health care, signing it into law. Notably, the dissenting justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Neil Gorsuch would have granted the state's request.

The legal challenge was initiated by Hamburger Mary's, an Orlando bar and restaurant known for hosting family-friendly drag shows. The district court and the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the ruling that the law was unconstitutionally written due to its vagueness. The district court's injunction prevented the enforcement not only against Hamburger Mary's but also statewide, a point of contention raised by the state.

Justice Brett Kavanaugh, joined by Justice Amy Coney Barrett, explained in a brief opinion that the narrow issue raised by the state did not meet the court's usual criteria for review.


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