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THE SHOW MUST GO ON: Naples Pride reacts to blocked Florida drag show law

San Francisco Pride
Posted at 10:14 PM, Nov 16, 2023

NAPLES, Fla. — The U.S. Supreme Court denied the Florida legislature the ability to ban children from drag shows and some in Naples are reacting to the news.

Governor Ron DeSantis signed the law in but now it will no longer be enforceable, statewide.

The law would have heavily fined venues that host drag shows for allowing children into what state lawmakers called "adult live performances."

Fox 4's Bella Line spoke with Naples residents gathering at the Naples Pride Center just hours after the news broke on Thursday night.

“It’s nothing new and it shouldn’t be banned anywhere," said Jim Laughlin, Naples resident.

Justices said the law would restrict free speech and, ultimately, violate the First Amendment. Some like Laughlin are calling it a victory for Americans' freedom rights.

“I am a gay great-grandfather, grandfather, and father, so I’ve watched my kids grow up and we have gone to drag shows," said Laughlin. "We know a lot of people who do drag and so it’s a victory for them too because they’ve been the leaders for years in some ways in our community."

Laughlin says drag goes beyond performances, it is a way of life for many.

“They’ve raised money for the Fraternal Order of the Police, for the fire department, for the library," said Laughlin "It’s just another slice of life that goes way way way back in history.”

Now that the Supreme Court found the law "unconstitutional," Laughlin feels the LGBTQ+ rights are moving back in the right direction.

“It’s a victory in a time that we seem to be going backwards with other issues be they books, schools, or ‘Don’t Say Gay’," said Laughlin, referencing the Parental Rights in Education Act the governor signed in 2022.