Tuesday, September 05, 2023

TX Gov Greg Abbott misleads in responding to temporary restraining order against his drag ban law

TX Governor Greg Abbott misleads the public about his drag ban law.

Texas governor Greg Abbott reacted in anger over a temporary restraining order against his statewide drag ban law. But he wasn't angry enough to forget to mislead about it.

 From News Nation

 Gov. Greg Abbott slammed a federal judge’s issuance of a temporary restraining order against Senate Bill 12, a Texas law that could criminalize drag performances statewide. In a statement on social media Monday, Abbott referred to the temporary restraining order as “absurd.”

 “Federal judge in Texas blocks a law I signed that bans sexually explicit drag shows in front of children. This is absurd,” the governor posted on his personal account on X, formerly known as Twitter. “We will fight to have this overturned & to protect our children from this indoctrination.” 

 The bill itself does not mention the word “drag” but specifies it is targeted at “sexually oriented performances.” U.S. District Judge David Hittner issued the temporary restraining order against SB12 on Thursday, just before the law had been set to go into effect Friday. Hittner granted the request following a two-day hearing early last week over a lawsuit brought forward by five plaintiffs. Those plaintiffs included Austin-based performer Brigitte Bandit and Extragrams, a local drag production company.

 Abbott left out one crucial detail about the law. It categorizes drag itself as a "sexually oriented performance." That in itself is the problem because not all drag is sexually oriented or explicit:

Under the language of the law, “sexual conduct” is defined as the exhibition or representation, whether actual or simulated, of sexual acts, genitals, devices designed to stimulate genitals, breasts or buttocks, or “sexual gesticulations using accessories or prosthetics that exaggerate male or female sexual characteristics.” This could mean that performers wearing padded bras or prosthetic breasts could be found in violation of the law.

This means that possibly under this law that a drag queen could be arrested for sexually explicit performance even if he was dressed as the Robin Williams character, Mrs. Doubtfire.  It's those little details folks like Abbott hope people will overlook. Luckily, at least for now a federal judge didn't.

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