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‘Drag Queen Story Hour’ bans passed in Texas Senate

The Senate has passed a pair of bills that seek to prevent children’s exposure to sexualized performances and events like “Drag Queen Story Hour.”

Sen. Bryan Hughes (R-Mineloa) introduced Senate Bill (SB) 12, which would restrict “certain sexually oriented performances on public property, on the premises of a commercial enterprise, or in the presence of a child,” punishing them as Class A misdemeanors.

During debate on the Senate floor, many questions were raised regarding what constitutes “sexually oriented performances,” “prurient interest,” and the “drag show” aspect of the bill.

Sen. Roland Gutierrez (D-San Antonio) asked pointed questions about whether “gyrating and twerking” would be categorized as sexually oriented performances, which Hughes said would not. Gutierrez also asked if the bill would apply to pop star Miley Cyrus performing dressed as a man and dancing sexually with a male dancer. Hughes replied that if it appeals to the prurient interest and a child is present, the bill would apply.

Sen. Sarah Eckhardt (D-Austin) had her opportunity to ask what would fall under the definition of a sexually oriented performance. She also asked about a Miley Cyrus performance and allowed Hughes to clarify that “if it’s a sexual performance, a sexually oriented performance, as defined in the stature that appeals to the prurient interest and minors are present, that’s the only time this will be an issue.”

Hughes’ bill includes situations where a performer is nude, or when a male or female dresses as the opposite sex as it appeals to the prurient interest and falls under the definition of “sexually oriented performance.”

The appeal to the prurient interest was a consistent reply of Hughes, especially when fielding questions on “twerking” from Sen. Jose Menendez (D-San Antonio).

The bill passed 21 to 10, which meant it would be heard for a final vote the next day.

The following day heard continued questions about what would constitute a man or woman dressing as the opposite sex. Sen. Royce West (D-Dallas) asked if men wearing kilts would fall under the statute. Hughes replied no, because that is part of the male custom in Scottish culture.

The bill gained final passage by a vote of 20 to 11.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick took to social media commending the Senate on the passage, saying, “Someone must fight back against the radical Left’s degradation of our society and values.”

“I will not allow Texas children to be sexualized and scarred for life by harmful drag performances.”

A second bill by Hughes, SB 1601, was also passed in the Senate but not without its own share of debate.

SB 1601 aims to ban “Drag Queen Story Hour” by restricting public funds from municipal libraries that host such events.

Eckhardt again questioned Hughes about what would constitute a “drag performance,” giving the example of whether she would be subject to the ban if she dressed as Gandalf or Harry Potter. Hughes asserted the bill would apply if performance as the opposite gender was the key to the performance.

SB 1601 passed on its final vote by 19 to 10 with two abstentions.


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