DeSantis administration takes Florida drag law fight to U.S. Supreme Court
The DeSantis administration is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to weigh in on a legal battle over a law that prevents children from attending drag shows.
The legal battle began when Orlando restaurant Hamburger Mary’s, which hosts drag shows, challenged the law for being unconstitutional.
A U.S. District judge enacted a preliminary injunction to block enforcement of the law for all venues in the state until the courts can take up the issue. Now, Florida state officials are attempting to stop that injunction.
John Paonessa, the owner of Hamburger Mary’s in Orlando believes the attempt to stop the injunction is both wrong and another way to oppress the LGBTQ community.
"I just think it's sad that you know, the taxpayer money is being spent on a frivolous law like this that clearly is fringing on First Amendment rights," Paonessa said. "It's a systematic attempt to erase the community to appeal to his base. So, we're fighting back. We're not going to lay down and let them roll over us and we're here. We're going to fight, and we think will prevail."
When Hamburger Mary's filed the lawsuit originally, Paonessa said there was an overwhelming support for the drag community. He said that the lawsuit has not hurt his business in terms of numbers and attendees.
Paonessa said he is not worried about the new legal challenge, and that he believes that the laws will be in Hamburger Mary’s favor.
“We're confident in how we will prevail in this simply because it's clear what they're doing, and all the rights are on our side the Constitution is on our side," Paonessa said. "I'm feeling pretty confident in how this will all turn out.”
In its argument, the DeSantis administration said the injunction should apply only to Hamburger Mary’s and not every venue in the state. The law should be enforced at other Florida businesses since to do otherwise will “erase from Florida’s statute books” a law meant to protect children, the application said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.