Could a new law some say bans drag performances now be blocked by a judge?

Pooja Lodhia Image
Wednesday, August 30, 2023
Judge could place injunction on drag show ban law before ruling
A hotly-contested courtroom battle is being waged between the state and people who perform or support drag shows.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Could a new state law that some say bans drag performances now be blocked from taking effect?

A federal hearing over the law's constitutionality just wrapped up.

After two days of presentations, the case is now in the hands of U.S. District Judge David Hittner, who called this one of the most interesting and important cases he's presided over in 37 years on the bench.

Hittner said there is a possibility he will issue a temporary restraining order on Thursday, Aug. 31, to block the law from taking effect on Friday, Sept. 1.

The restraining order is toward Senate Bill 12, a new law that prohibits performers from dancing suggestively or wearing certain prosthetics in front of children.

RELATED: Hearing held over Senate Bill 12 that would ban drag show performances in front of children under 18

Attorneys representing the Texas Attorney General's Office insisted the law isn't about drag shows.

"They're challenging a law that doesn't exist," the attorneys say.

But, Gov. Greg Abbott has tweeted that the law bans drag performers, and opponents of the law say it targets First Amendment and equal protection rights.

After the hearing, attorneys from the state declined interviews, but those filing lawsuits did.

"Once we allow the government to start censoring and restricting certain types of shows simply because they're unpopular or disfavored, that is a clear violation of the First Amendment," Brian Klosterboer, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, said.

Judge Hittner said a final ruling won't be released for at least another week.

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