Florida Governor Ron DeSantis stripped the Orlando Philharmonic Plaza Foundation of its liquor license Friday for allowing children to attend a Christmas drag show.
DeSantis, who has been cracking down on LGBTQ rights, filed an administrative complaint through the state department of business and professional regulation accusing the Philharmonic’s foundation of putting on a “sexually explicit” show where minors would be present.
The governor had previously warned any venues that hosted the touring show A Drag Queen Christmas that his administration would seek legal action against them. He has also mentioned the possibility of having child protective services investigate parents who take their children to drag shows.
Civil rights attorney Alejandra Caraballo pointed out that DeSantis couched the administrative complaint in language about morality, at one point saying that businesses that host drag shows are a “nuisance,” which is defined as something that “becomes manifestly injurious to the morals or manners of the people.” By framing drag shows as a morality law issue, Caraballo said, DeSantis strips the performances of free speech protections.
DeSantis has gone to all-out war with anything he deems “woke,” and with LGBTQ rights in particular. He enacted the state’s now infamous Don’t Say Gay law, banned transgender women from playing women’s sports, and vowed to defund diversity, equity, and inclusion programs on college campuses. He also unconstitutionally forced out Andrew Warren, a state attorney who said he would not unilaterally criminalize cases involving personal medical issues, such as abortion or trans health care.