A U.S. District Judge ruled in favor of the American Civil Liberties Union and other drag show supporters, granting them a temporary restraining order against new legislation restricting sexual performances in front of minors.
Senate Bill 12 by State Sen. Bryan Hughes (R–Mineola) restricts sexually explicit performances on public property and in the presence of children. The measure makes the performance a Class A misdemeanor, and anyone who violates the law would be subject to up to $10,000 in fines per offense. Gov. Greg Abbott signed SB 12 into law in June.
On Thursday, U.S. District Judge David Hittner—a Reagan appointee—granted The Woodlands Pride Inc, Abilene Pride Alliance, Extragrams LLC, 360 Queen Entertainment LLC, and drag performer Brigitte Bandit a temporary restraining order against the new law.
In his order, Hittner claims that the new law will cause irreparable harm to the plaintiffs and so he seeks to “preserve the status quo” until the court makes a final decision on injunctive relief.
An attorney for the ACLU of Texas applauded the judges’ ruling, saying the law was too broad and censored free speech.
“This law was obviously unconstitutional from the day it was first proposed, and we are grateful that the court has temporarily blocked it,” said Brian Klosterboer. “If allowed to take effect, S.B. 12 will make our state less free, less fair, and less welcoming for every artist and performer.”
Brady Gray, president of Texas Family Project, emphasized that the court only granted temporary relief and said he believes that children will soon be protected from sexually explicit shows.
“I am confident the blockage of SB12 is only temporary and trust that children in our great state will soon be protected from the perversion of these vile and morally corrupt performances,” said Gray.
The order will remain in effect for 14 days or until the court makes a final decision on injunctive relief. The decision is expected to be appealed by the Texas Office of the Attorney General.