Texas cannot enforce a new law that restricts some public drag shows, a federal judge said Tuesday in declaring the legislation unconstitutional.
U.S. District Judge David Hittner found Senate Bill 12 “impermissibly infringes on the First Amendment and chills free speech.” The struck-down law prohibited any performers from dancing suggestively or wearing certain prosthetics in front of children.
Hittner ruled that language discriminated based on viewpoint and is unconstitutionally overbroad and vague.
“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 ruling reads. “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.”
While SB 12 was originally billed as legislation that would prevent children from seeing drag shows, the final version did not directly reference people dressing as the opposite gender.
However, Republican leaders, including Gov. Greg Abbott made it clear that drag shows were the bill’s target — comments and history that Hittner wrote “the court cannot ignore.”
See here, here, and here for the background. I didn’t see a link to the ruling but I’m sure one can find it. I assume this will be appealed, and that will give the Fifth Circuit the opportunity to choose violence, but that’s a concern for another day. Given the number of state laws that are currently being challenged in the courts, plus the unhinged feral wilding of district court judges like Matthew Kacsmaryk, it seems inevitable that this question will eventually land before SCOTUS. Hold onto your hats until then. Houston Landing and the Austin Chronicle have more.