A popular Orlando bar and restaurant, Hamburger Mary’s, renowned for its vibrant drag show performances, comedy sketches, and dancing, has filed a federal lawsuit against Governor Ron DeSantis and the state of Florida. The establishment is seeking to halt the enforcement of a newly enacted law that prohibits minors from attending such shows. This legal battle emerges as part of a broader controversy surrounding LGBTQ+ rights in the state.
The lawsuit, filed in response to Senate Bill 1438 signed by the Republican governor, alleges that the law unfairly targets establishments that admit minors to performances deemed to involve “simulated nudity, sexual conduct, or specific sexual activities.” Hamburger Mary’s argues that this legislation has little to do with protecting children and everything to do with perpetuating the oppression faced by the LGBTQ+ community.
Governor DeSantis, who is expected to announce his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination, has been at the forefront of implementing policies that curtail LGBTQ+ rights in Florida. On the same day he signed the “Protection of Children” bill, the governor also approved bills that ban gender-affirming care for transgender youth and require transgender individuals to use bathrooms corresponding to their sex assigned at birth.
The owners of Hamburger Mary’s voiced their concerns on social media, emphasizing the broader implications of DeSantis’ policies, including the removal of LGBTQ+-themed books and the erasure of LGBTQ+ history from public school courses. They questioned the limits of such actions and urged for a more inclusive society.
The lawsuit argues that the newly enacted law infringes upon the constitutional right to free speech, as guaranteed by the First Amendment. It contends that the law unjustly singles out drag shows as deviant, despite their integration into mainstream culture as a form of family entertainment enjoyed by diverse audiences.
As this legal battle unfolds, it raises fundamental questions about the protection of LGBTQ+ rights and the boundaries of artistic expression. Hamburger Mary’s, a vibrant hub of creativity and inclusivity, stands determined to challenge the ban on minors attending their beloved drag performances, advocating for the values of free speech, equality, and diversity.
By championing the cause of LGBTQ+ rights, this lawsuit seeks to foster a more inclusive and accepting society, where the vibrant art forms and expressions of the LGBTQ+ community can thrive without discrimination or prejudice.