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“Family friendly” drag-themed restaurant sues Florida for banning “adult live performances” for minors

“Family friendly” drag-themed restaurant sues Florida for banning “adult live performances” for minors

The restaurant claims the law violates the restaurant’s civil rights under the First Amendment by engaging in content-based speech discrimination and because its language is vague and overbroad.

Hamburger Mary’s, a drag-themed restaurant in Florida, has sued the state to halt enforcement of the recently amended Florida Statute 509.261, which threatens to “fine, suspend, or revoke the license” of an establishment for violations. The law, signed by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis on May 17, 2023, provides for administrative sanctions against licensed establishments “knowingly” allowing minors to attend “adult live performances.”

Hamburger Mary’s “is a restaurant and bar serving alcohol and presents drag show performances, comedy sketches, and dancing.” The complaint alleges the restaurant has had to bar minors from its “family friendly” drag events because of the law, resulting in a substantial loss of revenue due to canceled reservations.

The restaurant claims the law is a deprivation of civil rights under the First and Fourteenth Amendments because it engages in content-based speech discrimination and because its language is vague and overly broad.

The restaurant claims the law targets drag performers based on their identity as such and, therefore, is a content-based regulation, thus subjecting the law to heightened judicial scrutiny. The complaint alleges the law fails to meet this scrutiny because while the government has a compelling interest in protecting children and  that the state could achieve its interest through less restrictive means.

The law relies on the recently amended FS 827.11 for its definition of “adult live performance”:

(a) “Adult live performance” means any show, exhibition, or other presentation in front of a live audience which, in whole or in part, depicts or simulates nudity, sexual conduct, sexual excitement, or specific sexual activities as those terms are defined in s. 847.001, lewd conduct, or the lewd exposure of prosthetic or imitation genitals or breasts when it:

1. Predominantly appeals to a prurient, shameful, or morbid interest;
2. Is patently offensive to prevailing standards in the adult community of this state as a whole with respect to what is suitable material or conduct for the age of the child present; and
3. Taken as a whole, is without serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value for the age of the child present.

FS 847.001(23) provides detailed descriptions of “specific sexual activities” barred by FS 509.261. The complaint, however, argues the law is impermissibly vague because it requires establishments to determine what is appropriate based on the individual child. Since an establishment cannot reliably determine the maturity of a given child, the complaint argues, the establishment cannot know whether any performance the child attends is acceptable, rendering the law impermissibly vague.

FS 827.11 largely relies on the prevailing legal standard enunciated by the Supreme Court in Miller v. California for determining when speech is “obscene” and, therefore, outside the protection of the First Amendment. Determining if materials are obscene depends on

(a) whether “the average person, applying contemporary community standards” would find that the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest,
(b) whether the work depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by the applicable state law, and
(c) whether the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value. (citations omitted; reformatted for clarity)


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I bet Hamburger Mary is a real “family friendly gal.”

It all begs the question (rhetorical): why are they so fixated on children???

The Drag Queen-themed restaurant is family friendly!

Hey, that’s great! Bill Clinton said Epstein’s Island— where he had some happy times with children—was family friendly.

The Gentle Grizzly | May 28, 2023 at 8:12 pm

I guess if they did a remake of Peter Pan, it could not star a 21st century version of Mary Martin.

    Russ from Winterset in reply to The Gentle Grizzly. | May 28, 2023 at 9:39 pm

    The would love to cast Jimmy Saville in the part, unfortunately he’s dead.

    I think that your statement is intended as humor, and also that it is wrong. I used “Punch and Judy” as a test, and compared it to the text of the law as quoted in the article. Punch and Judy would be allowed since it does not match “depicts or simulates nudity, sexual conduct, sexual excitement, or specific sexual activities” (or at least it needn’t and shouldn’t depict those.)

Leftists want to fuck kids. It’s that simple.

E Howard Hunt | May 29, 2023 at 7:27 am

Have you heard about the new Chuck E. Sleaze franchise?

RepublicanRJL | May 29, 2023 at 7:49 am

I’m living in bizarro world in wondering how Hamburger Mary thinks what they’re doing is entertainment that doesn’t affect children?

However, I’d like to highlight these ‘minors’ are not walking in without their parents, or are they?

Democrats sure do seem to have a thing for fucking children don’t they.

MoeHowardwasright | May 29, 2023 at 10:01 am

Why do they need kids at a drag show? That’s the question that the plaintiff will have to show the court. I’m not a drag fan, but for some reason the gals love these shows. They have two venues in Key West. You never see any kids near the se places. Why does the plaintiff need a “family friendly” show? If they have great drag shows they will always be full with the local gal posse’s. FJB

Don’t say trans[/social]. All sexual performances, past, present, and progressive are prohibited in publicly accessible venues. You can thank the politically congruent (“=”) groomers for conflating sex, gender, age, and social etiquette, in collusion with human rites advocates and activists, and Democratic principals and principles.

Burlesque shows have never been a place for children.

    n.n in reply to Valerie. | May 29, 2023 at 2:41 pm

    Social progress (i.e. [unqualified] monotonic process): one step forward, two steps backward of societal moral, ethical, and legal [religious (i.e. behavioral protocol)] principles.

It’s that time of year again. The month where we celebrate the polyamorous love of lions and lionesses, and the conception of cubs, perchance [unPlanned], who will play in gay revelry on the African savanna in parades with dad and moms.

BierceAmbrose | May 29, 2023 at 4:21 pm

Why are they objecting to curating what kids do. I have been reliably informed that they are “our kids.”

henrybowman | May 30, 2023 at 12:41 am

Why, nobody NEEDS these performances.
They’re not sporting performances, they’re “assault performances.”
Banning them is just… Common Sense Art Control!

DHS cited celebration of Nashville church school mass shooting *by* a trans-identified female as evidence of threats *against* LBQTIA+