Southern Utah Drag Stars, ACLU, sue city of St. George
May 23, 2023, 5:03 PM | Updated: 5:47 pm
(Ravell Hall/Deseret News)
ST. GEORGE, Utah — The Southern Utah Drag Stars and the ACLU of Utah have filed a lawsuit against the city of St. George, the St. George City Council, and several St. George City Council members, citing violations of the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, as well as violations of the Utah Constitution.
In the lawsuit, the Southern Utah Drag Stars (Drag Stars) alleges “flagrant and ongoing violations of their free speech, due process, and equal protection rights.”
The violations occurred, according to the lawsuit when St. George officials denied Drag Stars a permit to host an event in a park owned by the city.
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In February 2023, Drag Stars applied to host an event to be held in April 2023 at Vernon Worten Park. The lawsuit alleges that the content of the program was “designed to be entirely family-friendly… given that it was to be held in a public park.”
However, after a series of pushbacks by the city resulting in a change of venue, and a question about whether Dragstars had violated an “advertising prohibition,” St. George officials imposed a six-month moratorium on special event permits to further investigate codes governing special events.
Further, the lawsuit by the Southern Utah Drag Stars alleges that denying the permit was an ongoing effort, specifically by St. George Councilmember Michelle Tanner, to “suppress drag performances in the City.”