ORLANDO, FLORIDA — A restaurant-bar in Florida famous for its drag shows thinks their constitutional rights are being violated by a new law designed to protect children.
The owners of Hamburger Mary’s in Orlando are suing the state of Florida over the Protection of Children Act, which was passed in April and signed into law by Governor Ron DeSantis last week.
The law prohibits knowingly exposing children to “adult live performances,” which could include performances from cross-dressing men.
The suit claims the Protection of Children Act violates the First and Fourteenth Amendments, which enshrine the right to free speech and equality under the law, respectively. The plaintiffs acknowledge that the law nowhere bans drag, but argue that the motivation was to be deliberately unclear.
“The language used in the statute is meant to be and is primarily vague and indistinct,” they contend. “It does not mention ‘drag’ by name but it is so broad as to include this art form in the state’s interpretation under the newly created or amended laws in question.”
Live performances now deemed illegal for children are those that “depict or simulate nudity, sexual conduct, sexual excitement, or specific sexual activities” or other “lewd conduct.” Those who violate the law could be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor.
On April 26, over 300 people protested the bill, falsely accusing the state of banning drag shows.
Click Orlando reported that Hamburger Mary’s bookings dropped by 20 percent this month after the bar told customers that kids would no longer be permitted at any of its drag shows.