Honeyfund v. DeSantis

  • June 22, 2022
Honeyfund v. DeSantis

Protect Democracy represents Florida honeymoon registry company Honeyfund.com and Primo Tampa, a subsidiary of the largest Ben & Jerry’s franchisee in the country, along with corporate diversity consultancy Collective Concepts and its co-founder Chevara Orrin, in litigation challenging the constitutionality of Florida’s HB 7, the Stop WOKE Act. The bill purports to “fight back against woke indoctrination” by, among other things, barring employers from engaging in speech that “advances” certain “concepts” regarding race, sex, or national origin. Protect Democracy filed the lawsuit against Florida officials in partnership with Ropes & Gray, LLP.

On August 18, 2022, the Honorable Judge Mark E. Walker, Chief U.S. District Judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida, issued a preliminary injunction suspending enforcement of the law because it likely violates the First and Fourteenth Amendments. The order is currently on appeal.

Speech codes like this one, which seek to censor ideas contrary to government officials’ preferred narrative, muzzle independent institutions, and direct outrage toward disfavored groups, take a page from the authoritarian playbook. Prohibiting viewpoints disfavored by government officials violates well-established free speech rights and threatens to chill a wide range of speech in the workplace related to race, gender, and sexual orientation.

Targeting the speech of private employers based on the beliefs and preferences of current lawmakers is not something I’d expect to see here in the United States. As a Cuban refugee whose family fled a repressive regime, I can tell you that this law erodes fundamental American liberty and our system of free enterprise. Sadly, it moves us one step closer to authoritarian government.

Marcos Daniel Jiménez, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida during the George W. Bush administration

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Current United States Authoritarian Threat Index score: 2/5 Significant Threat

The Score Breakdown

  • Civil Liberties 1.7/5 • Low Threat