TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A federal judge heard arguments from attorneys for Hamburger Mary’s Orlando and the state on Tuesday afternoon.
The drag-themed burger restaurant filed a federal lawsuit on May 22 against the state of Florida and Gov. Ron DeSantis.
DeSantis signed the Protection of Children Act last month, which penalizes businesses that knowingly admit children to an adult live performance. It is set to go into effect on July 1.
In the lawsuit, the owners of Hamburger Mary’s Orlando claim the state is depriving the business of its First Amendment rights to free expression.
NBC affiliate WESH reported that the restaurant’s attorneys asked for a temporary injunction Tuesday, saying the law is unconstitutional.
The news station said the judge asked the state why they needed the statute at all. Attorneys said it helps tailor the working of existing laws.
Attorneys for Hamburger Mary’s Orlando said the law specifically targets drag performers.
“So the statute attempts to avoid specifically singling out drag performers, but it talks about prosthetic breasts, the lewd display of prosthetic breasts. There are two groups of people in the world who wear prosthetic breasts. One of them is mastectomy survivors. And I’m pretty sure that the state legislature was not targeting performers who’ve had mastectomies. And the other one is drag queens,” said Brice Timmons, a civil rights attorney representing the plaintiff.
Attorneys for Hamburger Mary’s Orlando said the statute is vague and will force law enforcement to decide what violates their subjective moral views. However, state attorneys argue that the law would not violate free speech because shows could go on for adults. They said the law would only target admission for those under 18.
WESH reported that the judge will review Tuesday’s arguments and try to issue and order as soon as reasonably possible.
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