HomeLegislationSupreme Court won’t allow Randy Fine’s drag queen law to be enforced

Supreme Court won’t allow Randy Fine’s drag queen law to be enforced

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The Supreme Court has chosen not to permit Florida’s new law targeting drag shows to be enforced while legal challenges are underway. The law, which has faced opposition, cannot be enforced across the state as per the Supreme Court’s decision. This follows a lower court’s prohibition of the law’s enforcement.

Florida had proposed to enforce the law in all areas except for Hamburger Mary’s in Orlando, which had legally contested the law’s constitutionality. However, this request was not granted by the Supreme Court. Justices Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, and Clarence Thomas were in favor of allowing Florida’s request.

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State Rep. Randy Fine, who sponsored the bill, originally aimed to include a clause explicitly criminalizing drag queens performing for audiences under 18. This broad proposal would have applied to any performance involving cross-dressing and singing, dancing, or lip-syncing . However, this explicit mention of drag shows was not included in the final legislation, suggesting a strategic shift to a subtler approach while retaining the same suppressive intent. The final bill, SB 1438, introduced a vague category of “adult live performance,” deliberately avoiding the term “drag” but implicitly targeting these performances through specific criteria, such as performers wearing fake breasts .

Fine said he did not remember proposing the amendment, so he could not say why he ultimately chose not to pursue it.

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The emails show that he shared his idea with James Uthmeier, who was, at the time, the chief of staff to DeSantis and is now managing DeSantis’ campaign for president. But neither Uthmeier nor the Governor’s Office would say what feedback they gave Fine.

“If I had wanted to do that, I’m not afraid to say what I think,” Fine told his fellow House members. “The reason we did not do that is, you cannot say, as a matter of course, that two words equals something. That’s why there’s an approximately 20-line definition that has four separate tests that must be met by any performance in order to be considered an adult live performance.”

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Earlier, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a decision by a lower court to stop the enforcement of the law. The court found that the law likely limited free speech and was not enforceable in the state. Hamburger Mary’s, known for its drag shows and family-friendly events, argued that the law was too broad, vague, and infringed upon First Amendment rights.

The law in question, supported by Republican Governor Ron DeSantis, aimed to penalize venues that allowed children into “adult live performances,” indirectly targeting drag shows. Venues breaching this law risked fines, liquor license suspension or revocation, and individuals could face misdemeanor charges.

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