A federal judge ruled on Thursday that Christian activists attempting to stop Houston libraries from hosting “Drag Queen Storytime” lack standing to bring their suit, and so, the case was dismissed.
The program, which brings drag queens to children's story-telling hours in libraries, bookstores and schools, was begun over a year ago by the nonprofit RADAR Productions.
Drag Queen Storytime encourages children to suspend belief and explore their imagination while embracing a message of diversity and acceptance.
The American Library Association has fully endorsed these types of programs, in any iteration, as a right to intellectual freedom. They have even curated a collection of resources for individuals seeking to bring Drag Queen Storytime to their libraries or community spaces.
In October 2018, three men filed a lawsuit in protest against Houston Public Library Executive Director Rhea Lawson and Mayor Sylvester Turner.
In the filing, plaintiff Tex Christopher declared that “‘gay marriage’ is ‘fake marriage,’” and as a Houston taxpayer and library cardholder he has standing because the library spent money on books for the story hours and paid for flyers to promote them.
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U.S. District Judge Lee Rosenthal dismissed their lawsuit Thursday for lack of standing and failure to state a viable First Amendment Establishment Clause claim.
Rosenthal said the men could not prove the threshold issue that they had been injured by the story hour because it’s unclear from their pleadings that any of them attended the events.
“The plaintiffs assert the very opposite: they purposefully avoided ‘Drag Queen Storytime’ because of its alleged immorality and potential to harm their children. Instead of witnessing the event, the plaintiffs ‘researched [it] online,’” Rosenthal wrote in a 19-page order.
For context, it's worth noting that one of the plaintiffs, Chris Sevier, has previously filed lawsuits claiming if men can marry men, then he should be able to marry his laptop computer.
Christopher says he plans on appealing to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.
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