Hamburger Mary’s Suing Ron DeSantis – Fights to Keep Children Watching Drag Shows
Just days before his announcement of his intention to run for the White House, a popular Florida restaurant has filed a federal lawsuit against Gov. Ron DeSantis.
The lawsuit filed in Orlando federal court by the owner of Hamburger Mary’s — which comes less than a week after DeSantis signed a bill that targets drag performances — claims the state is depriving the business of its First Amendment rights to free expression.
The restaurant is asking the court to temporarily stop the law from taking effect while the case moves forward.
DeSantis has made so-called “anti-gay” legislation a large part of his agenda as he prepares to seek the Republican presidential nomination.
He signed the bill restricting drag performances — along with bills that ban gender-affirming surgery and dangerous hormone treatments for minors, restrict discussion of personal pronouns in schools, and force people to use certain bathrooms — last week in front of a cheering crowd at the evangelical Cambridge Christian School in Tampa.
Hamburger Mary’s Bar & Grille has more than a dozen locations around the US, with the Orlando restaurant opening in 2008. According to the lawsuit, the restaurant had hosted “family-friendly” drag shows on Sundays, but the new Florida law is forcing them to ban children from all shows.
This has led to a 20% drop in Sunday bookings.
Proponents of the legislation have said the law is meant to keep children from viewing sexually explicit performances. Lawyers for the business argue the new law is so broad and vague that it could be applied to almost any performance that involves a man dressing up like a woman, even if the performance isn’t sexual in nature.
The lawsuit said the business owners couldn’t risk suspending their business or liquor licenses or facing criminal prosecution by allowing children at the shows.
As of the publication of this post, DeSantis nor his office has issued any kind of official response to the lawsuit.