Ron DeSantis is taking his fight against drag all the way to the US Supreme Court

A picture of Florida governor Ron DeSantis, who championed a drag ban law in the state, wearing a suit and tie as he speaks to a crowd off camera

Ron DeSantis is taking his crusade to implement the state’s drag ban law to the US Supreme Court.

The anti-LGBTQ+ governor of Florida is asking the USA’s highest court to block lower court rulings that prohibit the enforcement of a new law targeting drag performances in the state. 

Just two weeks ago, the appeals court panel upheld a lower court ruling that the legislation posed a threat to constitutionally protected free speech and expression

The ruling affirmed the block of the law would stand not just for Hamburger Mary’s, the venue that brought the legal case against the drag ban, but for the entire Sunshine State. 

However, the DeSantis administration has refused to back down, and now the state attorneys have asked the Supreme Court to narrow the scope of the injunction so the drag ban can be enforced against other venues in Florida except Hamburger Mary’s. 

In the Supreme Court filings, attorneys argue that the legal case is “not a class action” because there’s just “one plaintiff”, Hamburger Mary’s, which is claiming that the legislation “deters it from presenting to children live drag shows that are not sexually explicit”, the Orlando Sentinel reported. 

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“Extending that relief to others not before the court did nothing to alleviate Hamburger Mary’s asserted injury and exceeded the district court’s remedial authority,” the filings go on to say. 

Florida’s drag ban legislation, which was signed into law in May, provides for heavy fines and penalties – including the suspension or revocation of licences – against restaurants, bars and other venues that admit minors to a performance that “simulates nudity, sexual conduct or specific sexual activities”. 

Performers are also liable to be charged with a misdemeanour under the law.

A Black drag performer speaks into a microphone during an LGBTQ+ event in Florida while wearing a white dress with red lettering that reads: 'Drag is not a crime'
Drag performers and LGBTQ+ advocates have criticised Florida’s legislation, saying it attacks the queer community. (Getty)

In April, hundreds of drag performers and LGBTQ+ advocates marched to the Florida state capitol to protest against the legislation, claiming it attacks the LGBTQ+ community

Orlando-based bar and grill Hamburger Mary’s insisted that the law “has nothing to do with children and everything to do with the continued oppression of the LGBTQ+ community”.

In a court ruling in July, US district judge Gregory Presnell rejected a previous request for a partial stay, saying the state was trying to “neuter the court’s injunction” by having it only apply to Hamburger Mary’s. 

“Protecting the right to freedom of speech is the epitome of acting in the public interest,” the judge wrote in his ruling. “It is no accident that this freedom is enshrined in the First Amendment.”

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