Owner of Hamburger Mary’s Orlando — a well-liked restaurant in Orlando known for its frequent drag shows — initiated a federal lawsuit against the state of Florida and Governor Ron DeSantis on Monday.

This legal action comes shortly after the governor signed a bill specifically aimed at regulating drag performances.

The lawsuit, filed in the federal court located in Orlando, asserts that the state’s actions are violating the restaurant’s First Amendment rights to freedom of expression. The restaurant is seeking a temporary injunction from the court to prevent the law from being enforced while the case progresses.

Hamburger Mary’s Orlando VS “Ron’s Law”

As Governor DeSantis gears up to pursue the Republican presidential nomination, he has prominently incorporated anti-LGBTQ+ measures into his agenda.

Among these actions, he recently signed a bill that imposes limitations on drag performances. Additionally, he has endorsed bills that prohibit gender-affirming care for minors, place restrictions on conversations surrounding personal pronouns in educational institutions, and enforce specific restroom usage requirements.

Plummeting business

Hamburger Mary’s Bar & Grille, a chain with numerous establishments across the United States, including its Orlando location that debuted in 2008, is at the center of the lawsuit.

The legal complaint states that the restaurant had been hosting drag shows on Sundays that were deemed “family-friendly.”

However, due to the recently enacted Florida law, they are now obligated to prohibit children from attending any of the drag shows. Consequently, this policy change has resulted in a noticeable 20% decrease in Sunday reservations and bookings for the restaurant.

Broad & vague law

Advocates of the legislation have asserted that its purpose is to safeguard children from witnessing sexually explicit performances.

However, attorneys representing the business contend that the recently passed law is excessively broad and ambiguous, potentially encompassing nearly any performance featuring a man dressed as a woman, regardless of its non-sexual nature.

The lawsuit emphasizes that the business owners cannot afford to jeopardize their establishment or liquor licenses, nor face potential criminal charges, by permitting children to attend such shows.

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