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Judge grants temporary restraining order on Texas drag ban

San Antonio drag queen Aria York performs at a 360 Queen Entertainment production.
Kayla Padilla
San Antonio drag queen Aria York performs at a 360 Queen Entertainment production.

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A Texas federal judge granted a temporary restraining order that blocks a drag ban law from going into effect on Friday.

Texas Senate Bill 12 bans drag performances that could be perceived as sexual in the presence of minors on public property.

In its lawsuit, the American Civil Liberties Union Texas argued that SB-12 was overbroad and a violation of the First Amendment.

Plaintiffs included 360 Queen Entertainment, a production drag company that holds its shows on the patio of a family-friendly restaurant.

The company is co-owned by Richard Montez and David Gamez. In a statement to TPR, Montez expressed his gratitude after the order.

“360 Queen Entertainment is profoundly honored to have been a plaintiff in this case as we are strong believers that the First Amendment applies to all people, especially those who have been historically marginalized," he said. "We await Judge Hittner’s final decision but whatever happens, we know that the fight for equality rages on.”

Other plaintiffs in the lawsuit include The Woodlands Pride; Abilene Pride Alliance; Extragrams, LLC; and drag performer Brigitte Bandit.

In a press release, Brian Klosterboer with the ACLU Texas said the bill was unconstitutional.

“Senate Bill 12 is vague, overbroad, and censors free expression. ... If allowed to take effect, S.B. 12 will make our state less free, less fair, and less welcoming for every artist and performer,” he wrote.

The restraining order gives the court time to deliberate a permanent injunction that could strike down the bill. The courts have stopped similar laws in other states from going into effect as well.

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Kayla Padilla produces for The Source and is also a news reporter for Texas Public Radio.