Federal Judge Temporarily Halts Ron DeSantis’s Signature Policy As His Political Dreams Fade


A federal judge has imposed a tentative block on a new law signed by Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis that effectively restricts drag performances in the state. The law doesn’t outright ban such displays, but it effectively imposes strict bans around children watching such shows, although there is an extremely extensive history of drag shows that aren’t sexually explicit at all.

Federal Judge Gregory A. Presnell has put the restrictions temporarily on hold in the context of a lawsuit brought targeting state authorities from an Orlando restaurant that has its own long history of hosting family-friendly drag performances. As highlighted by The Washington Post, Presnell argued the law was “dangerously susceptible to standardless, overbroad enforcement” — which has been somewhat of a feature with new laws from DeSantis and his Republican allies that essentially directly target the LGBTQ+ community, as previously described to Bipartisan Report by Brandon Wolf of the LGBTQ+ rights organization Equality Florida. Generalizations that lend towards a climate of fear and intimidation have been built into these measures.

The restaurant that’s been suing over the drag restrictions from DeSantis is Hamburger Mary’s Orlando. The descriptions for the sorts of things that children were banned from attending under DeSantis’s new law were, in fact, remarkably unspecific, using circular reasoning. As highlighted by CNN, those descriptions included anything “patently offensive to prevailing standards in the adult community of this state as a whole with respect to what is suitable material or conduct for the age of the child present.” Well… Republicans across the Florida state government were the ones trying to create such standards, though? The presence of prosthetic breasts or genitals have also figured into the vague state limits.

The dispute between authorities and that outpost of Hamburger Mary’s will head to trial. DeSantis has signed other prominent restrictions on the activities of the LGBTQ+ community in his state, even including new limits on bathroom use by transgender residents of the state that apply in places including government buildings. He’s now also running for president, but Trump’s consistently huge lead in Republican primary polling suggests Ron won’t be making it out of the primary.