"This was very expected," says Jonathan Covey of Texas Values. "Not only have there been challenges in places like Tennessee, Florida, [and] Montana, but they made a lot of the same arguments that were made here in the Texas lawsuit."
Governor Greg Abbott (R-Texas) signed SB 12 into law on June 18th. It bans "sexually oriented performances" that take place in the presence of minors. Violators of the law could face up to a year in jail. Businesses hosting performances deemed illegal could be fined $10,000 for each violation.
The plaintiffs, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), claim the law is unconstitutional and threatens the "livelihood and free expression of many Texans, including drag performers across our state."
Covey expects Texas will win at some level.
"We are looking forward to just making clear that this is about protecting kids from explicit and sexual performances," he tells AFN. "It is not about any type of content discrimination."
In Covey's view, there are "so many holes in this lawsuit" that he likens it to "a giant piece of Swiss cheese."
"It is really interesting that this lawsuit makes the claim that there's nothing inherently sexual or obscene about drag, and it describes these drag performers as being simple entertainers who are just being persecuted by groups that they call like neo-Fascists or neo-Nazis," the policy director relays as an example. "This is all completely untrue. Drag is built on the premise of sexualized performances, and this bill takes into account all sexually oriented performances, not just drag."
If drag performances were not sexually oriented, then he reasons, "They would not have so much headache over this law."