Friday, January 04, 2019

Establishment Clause Challenge To Drag Queen Storytime Dismissed

In Christopher v. Lawson, (SD TX, Jan. 3, 2018), a Texas federal district court dismissed a lawsuit that claimed the Houston Public Library's "Drag Queen Storytime" violates the Establishment Clause. Plaintiffs claimed that the program promotes secular humanism over other religions, including Christianity,  The court first held that plaintiffs lack standing. Because they avoided the event to protect their children, they suffered no harm.  The court held that they also lack taxpayer standing.  The court went on to find that even if plaintiffs had standing, they failed to show an Establishment Clause violation, saying in part:
Here, the plaintiffs argue that “Drag Queen Storytime” is a religious event because of an alleged connection between “Drag Queen Storytime,” the LGBTQ community, and secular humanism.... [E]ven accepting that secular humanism could be a religion for Establishment Clause purposes, the plaintiffs fail to allege any facts or basis showing that “Drag Queen Storytime” is a religious activity. There is no allegation that a reader discussed secular humanism at the event, or that any story the Library selected invoked secular humanism or any religion at all. The plaintiffs instead make only conclusory statements associating secular humanism with the event.
Houston Chronicle reports on the decision,