Judge Blocks Law Designed to Protect Kids

Judge Blocks Law Designed to Protect Kids

(TheConservativeTimes.org) – Obama-appointed U.S. District Court Judge Brian Morris has temporarily blocked a new law in Montana that protects children from drag performances. Morris found that the law did not sufficiently define actions that might be prohibited, which could “encourage…discriminatory enforcement.”

The now blocked Montana law, House Bill 359, would prohibit minors from attending drag shows, drag story hour in schools and libraries that receive public funding, obscene performances on public property, and create fines or revoke one’s business license as a penalty. The law also made Montana the first state to ban drag kings and queens, which it defined as a “performer who adopts a flamboyant or parodic persona.”

Morris argued that the terms were not defined adequately in the law, which means that the law is too vague to enforce or that lawmaker intent is necessary for enforcement. Additionally, he asserted that the bill regulates speech on content and viewpoint without accounting for artistic, literary, scientific, or political value.

A lawsuit filed last month challenged the constitutionality of HB 359 and sought a preliminary injunction. Emily Flower, a spokesperson for the Montana Department of Justice (DOJ), further outlined how the DOJ will provide a full argument against an injunction. Morris has scheduled a hearing on the request for a preliminary injunction, which would continue to block the law as the case continues through the judicial process.

While the legal battle in Montana draws out, the political-cultural war on LGBTQ+ issues will likely continue into the 2024 general elections, which include a battleground Senate race in Montana. Incumbent Democratic Sen. Jon Tester will be against a Republican candidate in a state that has voted Republican statewide in many races.

With Republicans only needing to gain two seats to retake the Senate, assuming they win the race in West Virginia, Montana will prove to be a politically important state for the GOP. With Senate control on the line, Republicans may be more inclined to lean into culture war issues they believe are politically beneficial.

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