In a significant triumph for freedom of expression, District Judge Gregory Presnell has struck down Florida’s extreme ‘anti-drag’ law, granting drag performers the liberty to shine brightly once more. This news comes as a beacon of hope as Pride Month comes to a close.

The controversial law, seen as a suppressor of the speech of drag queen performers, was initially designed to “protect children.” However, Judge Presnell effectively invalidated these arguments in his ruling. He emphasized that existing obscenity laws provide the necessary safeguards for children from potentially obscene exhibitions or performances. He further questioned the ardent quest to find obscenity in drag performances, where undercover state agents had reported none.

Of great concern to many was the broad and vague language of the law, which experts feared could lead to misinterpretation. The legislation sought to ban people under the age of 18 from attending “adult live performances,” a term so broadly defined it could potentially even prevent high school students from attending plays or musicals.

The law’s wide reach extended to businesses and Pride celebrations, with punitive measures, such as heavy fines and revoking licenses, in place for violations. In essence, the legislation also aimed to limit Pride events by discouraging government entities from issuing permits for such gatherings.

However, this landmark ruling represents a significant setback for those opposing drag performers. It follows a parallel event in Tennessee, where a similar law was also ruled unconstitutional.

This judicial decision, filled with promise, has rekindled hope for Pride celebrations and LGBTQ+ rights in the state. As we look ahead, it is clear that despite the looming legal battles, the spirit of Pride remains unbroken.

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By: Harold Marrero
Chief Operating Officer

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