We told you HERE in May that Hamburger Mary’s Orlando (Facebook | Website) had sued Governor DeSantis and the State of Florida over a bill that was recently signed that targets drag performances, and it appears to have worked, at least for the moment.
Hamburger Mary’s opened on Church Street in 2008 and has been hosting drag-centric event programming ever since, but with the passing of Senate Bill 1438, or the “Protection of Children” bill, the restaurant owners, Mike Carpenter and John Paonessa, felt that their business was under attack.
The bill grants state agencies the power to revoke liquor licenses and even close a venue, if children are allowed to attend “adult performances” or acts where people wear “prosthetic or imitation genitals or breasts.”
In their lawsuit against the state, that they were forced to cancel a Sunday series of family-friendly performances and that families have already stopped coming to the restaurant, quoting a 20% drop in reservations. The lawsuit also states that the law is too vague and limits free speech and they asked that the court temporarily freeze the law, while the case is carried out, and that’s just what happened.
U.S. District Judge Gregory Presnell of Orlando chose to temporarily block the law on Friday, June 23, and wrote that “… this statute is specifically designed to suppress the speech of drag queen performers.” Judge Presnell’s order will prevent the state from enforcing the law until a trial has been held.
Florida’s Secretary of the Department of Business and Professional Regulation filed a notice of appeal on Tuesday, asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit in Atlanta to overturn the injunction and bring the law back into effect.
A date has not been set for a hearing on the appeal.