Two LGBTQIA+ nonprofit organizations, two drag production and entertainment companies, and a drag artist sued Texas state officials to block the drag ban, Senate Bill 12, from taking effect.
S.B. 12 is an unconstitutional law that violates the First and Fourteenth Amendments and threatens the livelihood and free expression of many Texans, including drag performers. The ban targets any performance that could be perceived as “sexual” and proposes criminal penalties, including up to a year in jail, for artists and others who support them.
The plaintiffs challenging this law are The Woodlands Pride, Inc. and Abilene Pride Alliance, organizations that celebrate diversity, equity, and inclusion in the Texas LGBTQIA+ community; Extragrams, LLC and 360 Queen Entertainment LLC, drag production and entertainment companies that have already suffered negative effects from the ban; and Brigitte Bandit, an Austin-based drag artist who hosts, produces, and performs in drag events.
They are represented by the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas and Baker Botts LLP.
This lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas. On Aug. 28 and 29, 2023, the Court held a consolidated injunction hearing and trial on the merits. On August 31, 2023, Judge Hittner issued a temporary restraining order blocking SB 12 and stopping Defendants from enforcing it, and the court extended this TRO on September 13, 2023.
On September 26, 2023, the court entered a final order declaring S.B. 12 to be unconstitutional and permanently blocking the Texas Attorney General and other government defendants from enforcing it.
Read our press release on that decision here.