Supreme Court Stays Out of Dispute Over Drag Show at Texas University

The Supreme Court on Friday rejected a request from an L.G.B.T.Q. student group at a public university in Texas to let it put on a drag show on campus over the objections of the university’s president, who had refused to allow it.

In an emergency application, the students said the president’s action violated the First Amendment.

As is the court’s custom when ruling on emergency matters, the justices’ brief order gave no reasons. There were no noted dissents.

Drag shows are increasingly a target of the right, with some Republican-led states, including Florida and Tennessee, seeking to restrict the performances.

The student group, Spectrum WT, first sought to sponsor the drag show, a charity event to raise money for suicide prevention, in March 2023. Walter Wendler, the president of West Texas A&M University, canceled it, citing the Bible and other religious texts.

Drag shows, he said, “are derisive, divisive and demoralizing misogyny.”

He added: “A harmless drag show? Not possible.” Mr. Wendler went on to say that he would not condone such shows “even when the law of the land appears to require it.”

The student group and two of its members sued, saying the president’s action was a prior restraint and government discrimination based on viewpoint, both violations of the First Amendment. The group held the 2023 event off campus, started planning the 2024 show and asked for a court order letting that show take place on campus.

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