A federal judge has permanently blocked a Texas bill criticized for limiting public drag performances, reports abc News.
U.S. District Judge David Hittner deemed the law an “unconstitutional restriction on speech” that “violates the First Amendment as incorporated in Texas by the Fourteenth Amendment.”
The legislation, set to take effect on September 1, faced a preliminary injunction prior to its enforcement. Although not explicitly naming drag shows, the bill aimed to ban “sexualized performances” in the presence of minors.
The ACLU of Texas represented local LGBTQ groups, businesses, and a performer in the lawsuit against state officials. Under the law, businesses could have faced a $10,000 fine for hosting such performances, and performers could have been charged with a Class A misdemeanor.
“LGBTQIA+ Texans, venue owners, performers, and our allies all came together to uphold free expression in our state — and we won,” said the ACLU in a social media post. “This work isn’t done but for now we celebrate. Long live Texas drag!”
This ruling mirrors a similar decision in Tennessee, where the first state law restricting drag performances was also declared unconstitutional. Critics argued that the law would have impacted various forms of entertainment, including traveling Broadway plays, theater performances, professional cheerleading routines, and drag shows.