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Judge temporarily suspends Texas bill that would restrict drag performances

A Texas federal judge has issued a temporary injunction blocking a bill that could effectively ban drag shows in the state just a day before it takes effect.

U.S. District Judge David Hittner issued the temporary freeze on Thursday in response to a trial filed against the state by the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas on behalf of a drag artist, business owners and LGBTQ+ groups earlier this month.

Senate Bill 12 restricts “sex shows” on public property or in the presence of minors. The legislation, which was signed by Texas Governor Greg Abbott (right) in June and is expected to take effect on Friday, also prohibits any performer from dancing suggestively or wearing prosthetics that exaggerate male or female sex characteristics if minors are present.

“The Court finds that there is a strong likelihood that SB 12 as written violates the First Amendment to the United States Constitution under one or more of the legal theories advanced by the plaintiffs,” Hittner said. wrote in its notice Thursday.

The latest version of the bill no longer makes specific reference to drag shows or people dressing in a gender-nonconforming manner. But Abbott and other Republican leaders have indicated that the bill would target drag shows in public spaces.

Drag artists, LGBTQ+ people and business owners in Texas testified before Hittner in the trial earlier this week and asked her to block the law, arguing that she the language is too broad and violates their First Amendment rights.

ACLU attorney Brian Klosterboer told reporters after the hearing that even with the omission of language specifically referring to drag, the law still poses a threat to businesses and artists. The Texas Tribune reported. Under the law, business owners could be fined more than $10,000 for hosting shows that involve nudity or what could be considered a “lascivious interest in sex.”

“Once we allow the government to begin censoring and restricting certain types of programming simply because they are unpopular or disadvantaged, that is a gross violation of the First Amendment,” Klosterboer said Tuesday, according to the newspaper. Grandstand.

Complainantff Brigitte Bandit underlines in his testimony, this language prohibiting prostheses that exaggerate male or female sex characteristics would make it illegal to continue her performances as country singer Dolly Parton at various clubs and restaurants, as she wears a breastplate for this act.

Another complainant said he was concerned that some might interpret twerking – which is culturally important in some black cultures and is a central part of many shows – as an act falling under the “sexual interest” part of the law. lascivious”, which could then criminalize drag. performers.

Hittner’s temporary injunction will prevent the law from going into effect as scheduled on Friday, and the court will make a final decision later on whether the law is permanently blocked.

Texas is one of six states to restrict drag performance, along with Montana, Tennessee, North Dakota, Florida and Arkansas. ABC News reportsalthough some of themThe policies have since been blocked.

The Huffington Gt

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