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AUSTIN (KXAN) — A federal judge has decided to extend a temporary restraining order, blocking a Texas law that would “regulate sexually oriented performances” and that opponents argue could criminalize drag performances.
Senate Bill 12 passed in June and would have gone into effect Sept. 1, but a federal judge issued a temporary restraining order, or TRO, that prevented it from being enforced. The judge’s action came after a hearing in a lawsuit, whose plaintiffs include an Austin-based drag performer and production company.
The first restraining order was set to expire 14 days after Aug. 31, but Wednesday’s ruling extends it another 14.
The judge found “that the grounds for originally granting the TRO continue to exist,” namely, that “Based on the evidence and testimony presented at the Hearing, the Court finds there is a substantial likelihood that S.B. 12 as drafted violates the First Amendment of the United States Constitution under one or more of the legal theories put forward by the Plaintiffs. Regarding the irreparable harm element, the Court considers the impending infringement on the Plaintiffs constitutional rights sufficient irreparable harm to warrant enjoining S.B. 12 while a final judgment is drafted,” according to the original TRO decision.
Gov. Greg Abbott, who signed the bill into law in June, criticized the first restraining order soon after it went into effect, calling it “absurd.”