ORLANDO, FL — (06-26-23) — A U.S. judge on Friday blocked governor DeSantis’ new Florida law that banned drag performances. This marks the third time this month that federal courts have rejected laws backed by anti-LGBTQ Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who has made it his mission to target the LGBTQ in Florida.

In all three cases, the anti-LGBTQ governor and current Republican presidential candidate, lost on grounds that the anti-LGBTQ laws appear to infringe on people’s constitutional rights, mainly the 14th Ammendment.

In Friday’s decision, U.S. District Judge Gregory Presnell of the Middle District of Florida granted an injunction preventing the state from enforcing a law that bans minors from attending “obscene live performances,” calling it too broad.

Judge Presnell refused to dismiss DeSantis’ anti-LGBTQ law entirely so that means the underlying lawsuit challenging it will go forward through the courts.

The governor’s office said the judge was “dead wrong” and predicted the state would win on appeal, counting on the conservatives the back his dark age ideology law.

“Of course it’s constitutional to prevent the sexualization of children by limiting access to adult live performances,” said Jeremy Redfern, a spokesperson for DeSantis.

Hamburger Mary’s, an Orlando bar and restaurant that presents drag show performances, comedy sketches and dancing, filed the lawsuit in response to the law that DeSantis signed in May.

Hamburger Mary’s argued the law was written so broadly as to have a “chilling effect” on First Amendment rights to free speech as guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. The judge agreed, finding the plaintiff was likely to succeed at trial on First Amendment grounds.

“Florida already has statutes that provide such protection (from obscene performances). Rather, this statute is specifically designed to suppress the speech of drag queen performers,” wrote Judge Presnell.

Last Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle struck down a Florida rule and a statute that banned state Medicaid payments for transgender healthcare.

DeSantis ran into more back lack with his dark age laws as the same judge on June 6, partially blocked Florida from enforcing its recent ban on people under 18 receiving gender-affirming care such as puberty blockers and hormone therapy.

In both cases, U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle of the Northern District of Florida cited 14th Amendment guarantees to equal protection under the law.

Article by: Paul Goldberg, Staff Writer

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