Sunday, June 23, 2024

Federal Judge Blocks Law Prohibiting Minors from Attending Adult Performances

The new law punished venues for allowing children into adult live performances...

(Headline USA) A federal judge on Friday temporarily blocked a new Florida law prohibiting children from attending live adult performances.

U.S. District Judge Gregory Presnell granted a preliminary injunction stopping the law from being enforced until a trial is held to determine its constitutionality, and he denied a Florida licensing and regulatory agency’s request to dismiss it.

The complaint was brought by the owner of a Hamburger Mary’s restaurant and bar in Orlando, which regularly hosts drag shows, including performances on Sundays where children were invited to attend.

The restaurant owner said it violated First Amendment rights by chilling speech.

An email seeking comment was sent to the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, which is the remaining defendant after the judge dismissed DeSantis and the state as defendants.

Proponents of the legislation have said the law is meant to keep children from viewing sexually explicit performances and is constitutional.

The new law punished venues for allowing children into “adult live performances.”

Though it did not mention drag shows specifically, the sponsor of the legislation said it was aimed at those performances.

Venues that violated the new law faced fines and the prospect of their liquor licenses being suspended or revoked. Individuals could be charged with a misdemeanor crime.

The Florida agency moved to revoke the liquor licenses of a Miami hotel and a performing arts center owned by the Orlando Philharmonic Plaza Foundation after they hosted drag shows where investigators claim minors were present.

Ahead of announcing a run for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination this spring, DeSantis made protecting children from sexually explicit material a large part of his agenda as governor.

Other bills he signed would ban genital mutilation for minors and the anti-grooming law.

Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press

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