First, we stole the rainbow from God. Today, the LGBTQ+ community celebrated yet another victory.
Braxton Mitchell’s own hateful words have come back to bite him as a judge temporarily blocked Montana Drag Ban- HB359. Several plaintiffs, including Two-Spirit author, Adria Jawort and the Great Falls LGBTQ+ Center, have filed suit over the new law, arguing that the ban is unconstitutional. Adding fuel to these claims, the city of Helena failed to approve permits for next weekend’s planned Pride parade prompting Montana Pride to join the lawsuit as well.
In today’s ruling, Judge Morris cited Representative Mitchell’s own words to prove the discriminatory intent of his bill. Morris writes,
Plaintiffs highlight […] that Representative Braxton Mitchell’s introduction in support of H.B. 359 justified the legislation on the basis that drag shows expose children to ‘mature themes’ and ‘inappropriate activities,’ purportedly risking that children ‘adopt and accept certain stereotypes or attitudes,’ ‘creat[ing] an inadequate understanding of gender roles’ and ‘damag[ing] [children’s] long-term social and emotional development.’
Judge Morris confirms what members of the LGBTQ+ community have said all along. The intent of this law has always been discrimination. Representative Mitchell spent the last legislative session making hateful and misinformed comments about the Queer community and pushing bills that will now cost Montana taxpayers. Each time the state passes an unconstitutional law, taxpayer funds are used to defend that law in court. And although I’ll never tire of watching Attorney General, Austin Knudsen, lose in court, the reckless waste of our tax dollars should outrage Montanans.
After today’s ruling, the city of Helena has indicated they will issue all necessary permits. The lawsuit against HB 359 has its next hearing set for August. In the meantime, we’re going to keep celebrating Pride.
Check out all the Montana Pride activities here: https://montanapride.org/