Advertisement

Supreme Court declines to lift ban on drag show on Texas college campus

By Ehren Wynder
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (pictured speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Maryland in February) said drag shows could be in violation of West Texas A&M's policy prohibiting "disruptive, lewd or indecent" behavior. Photo by Mike Theiler/UPI
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (pictured speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Maryland in February) said drag shows could be in violation of West Texas A&M's policy prohibiting "disruptive, lewd or indecent" behavior. Photo by Mike Theiler/UPI | License Photo

March 15 (UPI) -- The Supreme Court on Friday denied a request from an LGBTQ student group to host a drag show on the campus of West Texas A&M University.

The student group, Spectrum WT, had filed an emergency petition with the court after the public university banned the performance on campus. The group claims the ban violates the First Amendment.

Advertisement

The Supreme Court's decision on Friday does not close the case, but it means the group likely will not be able to host the event at an on-campus facility on March 22 while litigation continues.

The court did not explain its decision, and there were no noted dissents.

Spectrum WT's attorney J.T. Morris told NBC News the group will continue to protest the ban, with oral arguments to be heard April 29 in the New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals next month.

Litigation has been pending for over a year and was originally filed last year after university President Walter Wendler blocked a similar event at Legacy Hall, a performance space that had hosted drag shows in the past, the plaintiff's argued.

The student group sued, seeking an injunction, and moved the show off campus when it did not receive one.

Advertisement

Wendler, at the time, described drag performances as "derisive, divisive and demoralizing" and argued they "stereotype women in cartoon-like extremes for the amusement of others."

Spectrum WT said its intent was to show support for the LGBTQ community with an "PG-13" event that was not lewd or profane. Minors could attend if accompanied by a parent.

U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk noted the point of minors attending the performance when he ruled in favor of the university.

"When children are involved," Kacsmaryk wrote, "the calculation changes."

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton noted drag shows could be in violation of West Texas A&M's policy prohibiting "disruptive, lewd or indecent" behavior.

He also said the group waited too long to seek Supreme Court intervention.

Latest Headlines