AUSTIN, Texas - A federal judge has extended the temporary restraining order that blocks enforcement of Senate Bill 12, the state legislation that criminalizes "sexually explicit performances" and that critics say targets drag shows.
The decision gives the court another 14 days to deliberate on a permanent injunction.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Texas and Baker Botts LLP filed a lawsuit against the attorney general's office in August on behalf of a number of LGBTQ organizations and drag performers, calling the drag ban unconstitutional in that it singles out drag performances as a disfavored form of expression.
Plaintiffs in court testified how the drag ban threatens their livelihoods, censors their freedom of expression and vilifies an art form that has roots going back millennia, according to the ACLU.
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A temporary restraining order was issued that blocked the bill from going into effect.
The drag ban would have taken effect Sept. 1 if the temporary restraining order had not been issued.
"Today's decision is another much-needed reprieve that prevents SB 12 from irreparably harming the fights and freedoms of al Texans, especially LGBTQIA+ Texans and the plaintiffs in this case," Brian Klosterboer, an attorney at the ACLU of Texas, said following the extension of the restraining order. "Drag is a form of artistic expression protected under the First Amendment with roots dating back millennia."