Skip to comments.Texas ban on drag shows for minors 'unconstitutional,' federal judge rules
Posted on 10/01/2023 3:31:35 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
Texas cannot enforce a new law banning drag performances that take place in front of minors, according to a federal judge who declared the legislation unconstitutional.
U.S. District Judge David Hittner ruled Tuesday that Senate Bill 12, signed into law by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott in June, "impermissibly infringes on the First Amendment and chills free speech."
The legislation, slated to go into effect on Sept. 1, prohibits venues from allowing individuals under 18 to attend "sexually oriented" events and performances. Businesses that violated the law would face fines of $10,000 per violation. Hittner, a Reagan appointee, argued that the bill's language was too broad and discriminated against certain viewpoints.
“The Court sees no way to read the provisions of SB 12 without concluding that a large amount of constitutionally-protected conduct can and will be wrapped up in the enforcement of SB 12," the 56-page ruling stated. "It is not unreasonable to read SB 12 and conclude that activities such as cheerleading, dancing, live theater, and other common public occurrences could possibly become a civil or criminal violation."
Hittner determined that drag performances are expressive content, writing that they "express a litany of emotions and purposes, from humor and pure entertainment to social commentary on gender roles."
"There is no doubt that at the bare minimum these performances are meant to be a form of art that is meant to entertain, alone this would warrant some level of First Amendment protection," he continued.
Drag performers, such as Brigitte Bandit, praised the ruling, according to The Texas Tribune, stating that "queer Texans belong and we deserve to be heard by our lawmakers."
The bill's author, Republican Sen. Bryan Hughes, pledged to challenge the ruling, and a spokesperson for the Texas Attorney General's Office indicated it would do the same.
"Surely we can agree that children should be protected from sexually explicit performances. That's what Senate Bill 12 is about," Hughes posted on X. "This is a common sense and completely constitutional law, and we look forward to defending it all the way to the Supreme Court if that's what it takes."
Last month, Hittner temporarily blocked Senate Bill 12 from taking effect on Sept. 1 after a drag queen and LGBT groups sued the state.
The groups argued that the law discriminated against performances protected by the First and 14th Amendments.
Tennessee enacted legislation banning drag shows for children earlier this year. However, a federal judge appointed by former President Donald Trump struck it down.
Several drag shows throughout the state of Texas have prompted concerns about minors witnessing sexually explicit content.
Republican Texas Rep. Bryan Slaton vowed to introduce legislation banning drag shows for minors last August. Slaton's comments came after news broke of a "Drag Kids to Pride" event at a Dallas bar that invited kids to participate in a drag show. One image showed a child placing money in a performer's undergarment.
In December 2022, the Texas Family Project shared footage of a "Christmas Drag Show" event in San Antonio's House of Eternas, marketed as being for all ages. The video shows a man dressed in drag stroking a young girl's hair, and, at another point in the video, the girl is seen giving money to the performers.
At one point, a little girl began to cry after one of the performers asked if she was enjoying the show, and she shook her head. The venue later canceled its remaining drag shows for the year after the video surfaced, claiming that the footage led to them being bullied.
Another video of a drag performance marketed as being for all ages shows a performer lifting his skirt and lip-synching to the song "Pussy” by Lady in front of a little girl. The drag brunch took place at the Ebb & Flow restaurant in Plano, Texas, in October 2022.
"My p— good, p— sweet/ P— good enough to eat ... / F— me all night," the performer mouthed while dancing in front of the child.
Remember when they said all they want is to be left alone?
Why do we have age restrictions on alcohol and cigarettes?
They are coming for our children.
Pornography is evidently free speech too but is banned for children.
Wow, Reagan appointed Judge.
Reagan made other bad judicial picks. Sandra O’Connor and Anthony Kennedy, for sure.
So can children now go to topless bars, because “free speech”?
Unfortunately there would be a Karen who would put their nose into cheerleading and say it’s pornography due to some skimpy out fits and cheer moves. I definitely can see the cheer coach getting locked up over it. They need to tighten the bill and not make it so broad.
are meant to be a form of art that is meant to entertain, alone this would warrant some level of First Amendment protection,
The shows aren’t banned...only people under 18 are banned from them.
What’s the big deal, judge? We ban all sorts of things from young people.
Another criminal in a black robe. The anti-federalists were right. The entire court system would lead to the downfall of a federalist government.
Their problem is that they are trying to fill a hole inside that has no bottom. Their neediness knows no bounds and can never be satisfied.
Perhaps one should be performed outside his house on say Thanksgiving when his family is there. Do it on the sidewalk which is public property, so he can’t have them trespassed.
And kids should carry since the 2nd Amendment also applies to them! Once again common sense does not rule....
So pushing pornography should be “free speech”???? HELL NO!
That's the way "sin" operates...whether it is perversion, sex, or even money. The more you get, the more you want.
This is so wrong. To those who say that we’ve always had evil like this, but it wasn’t published or seen for some reason are also wrong. We have NOT had the myriad of evil things in our society here in the U.S. before. This is all very recent and it’s getting worse. God is not going to allow it. TRY TO REMEMBER THAT STATEMENT AND WATCH WHAT EVENTUALLY HAPPENS.
Yes, and dumbass women believed them.
Whoever brought up women being allowed to vote should have been immediately publicly castrated, then disemboweled, then immolated.
Yeah? why do they have age restrictions on movies? why do they have age restrictions on strip clubs? this judge is the devils right hand minion.
Parents need to step up and protect their children. Attend school board meetings and inform them that no minors should be subject to this immoral act.
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