HOUSTON (CBSNewsTexas.com) — A federal judge has once again extended a temporary restraining order blocking Texas' drag show ban. The decision gives the court another 14 days to deliberate on a permanent injunction regarding Senate Bill 12.
SB12 defines a sexually oriented performance as one in which someone is naked or in drag and "appeals to the prurient interest in sex." It would ensure business owners were fined $10,000 for hosting drag shows. Drag queens performing "lewd" drag in front of children could face a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail.
The bill was filed in March by Republican state Sen. Bryan Hughes of Mineola, who said the law is intended to protect children.
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick also supports the legislation.
"It is shocking to me that any parent would allow their young child to be sexualized by drag shows. Children, who cannot make decisions on their own, must be protected from these sexually-oriented drag shows now occurring more and more in front of them," Patrick stated in a news release sent to CBS News Texas in April. "I selected SB 12 to be a top priority of mine because someone must fight back against the radical Left's degradation of our society and values. I will not allow Texas children to be sexualized and scarred for life by harmful drag performances."
But those in opposition disagree.
State Sen. Roland Gutierrez, a San Antonio Democrat, previously said gun reform is what truly protects children, and is more of a priority than passing SB 12.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Texas also opposes SB12 and filed a lawsuit in August on behalf of The Woodlands Pride, Abilene Pride Alliance, Extragrams LLC, 360 Queen Entertainment LLC, and drag performer Brigitte Bandit.
"Today's decision is another much-needed reprieve that prevents SB12 from irreparably harming the rights and freedoms of all Texans, especially LGBTQIA+ Texans and the plaintiffs in this case," Brian Klosterboer, attorney at the ACLU of Texas shared in a news release. "Drag is a form of artistic expression protected under the First Amendment with roots dating back millennia."
The ban would have taken effect September 1 if the temporary restraining order were not issued two weeks ago.
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