Judge David Nuffer gave his ruling Friday in the lawsuit filed by Southern Utah Drag Stars against the city of St. George. An April show from the drag performers was “canceled due to the venue withdrawing from hosting,” according to the Southern Utah Drag Stars. This ruling opens the door for a performance in June to continue, without any city-imposed advertising prohibitions.
“Public spaces are public spaces … not private spaces. Public spaces are not majority spaces,” Nuffer wrote. “The First Amendment of the United States Constitution ensures that all citizens, popular or not, majority or minority, conventional or unconventional, have access to public spaces for public expression.”
St. George had previously denied the permit to the drag show because it began advertising the program before the permit was granted, which was a supposed violation of an ordinance that hadn’t previously been enforced. Nuffer interpreted the move by the city as a pretext for discrimination.
“Our intent is always to follow the law both when we enact laws and when we enforce laws, and we will continue to do so,” a statement from St. George said. “We have read Judge Nuffer’s opinion and while we are disappointed in the result, we are currently evaluating our options in light of the ruling.”
Should St. George appeal the ruling, the case will be sent to the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver, Colorado.