Tennessee’s heinous drag ban temporarily blocked by judge

Nashville proud 2022 tennessee

A federal judge has temporarily blocked Tennessee’s tough law restricting drag performances, saying it is “vague and too broad.”

In February, the southern state became the first in the US to restrict drag performances after a surge in anti-LGBTQ+ laws being filed statewide.

Tennessee’s Senate Bill 3 aims to update an existing state law to prevent “adult-oriented businesses” from operating within 1,000 feet of schools, public parks or places of worship, including “adult cabaret performances.”

The legislation defines these performances as those featuring “male or female impersonators who provide entertainment that appeals to a lustful interest.”

Those who break the law face a misdemeanor for a first offense and up to six years in prison for subsequent offenses, which would be known as a felony.

In addition to the drag ban, lawmakers also voted to ban physicians from providing gender-affirming medical treatments such as puberty blockers, hormone therapy and surgery — which is exceedingly rare — to transgender minors.

Federal Judge Thomas Parker, appointed by Donald Trump during his tenure, temporarily blocked the law, saying, “At this point, the court is finding that the law is likely to be both vague and overbroad.”

Drag ban “misses the mark,” says federal judge

In the ruling, Parker sided with Friends of George’s — a Memphis-based LGBTQ theater group — which filed a lawsuit against the state over the bill.

The plaintiff claimed the language in the ban meant it could be applied “almost anywhere”.

“What exactly is a place on public property, or ‘a place where adult cabaret entertainment might be viewed by a non-adult’?” Parker asked.

“Does a citizen’s private residence count? How about a campsite in a national park? What if a minor browsing the World Wide Web from a public library is watching an “adult cabaret show”? Ultimately, the broad language of the statute clashes with the narrow limitations of the First Amendment.”

Parked acknowledged that lockdown laws are an “extraordinary” measure and the court does not take such “measures lightly”.

“If Tennessee wishes to exercise its police powers to restrict speech it deems obscene, it must do so within the limitations and framework of the United States Constitution.

“The Court notes that the records here, as they stand, indicate that the legislature missed the mark in enacting this statute,” the judge concluded.

friends of George released a statement after the verdict.

Celebrating the decision, the group said: “FOG is committed to promoting freedom of expression not just for ourselves but for everyone across TN.

“We stand in solidarity with all drag performers, the LGBTQIA+ community and our allies as we continue the fight for justice, self-expression and the pursuit of happiness.”

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https://www.thepinknews.com/2023/04/02/tennessee-drag-ban-blocked/ Tennessee’s heinous drag ban temporarily blocked by judge

Adam Bradshaw

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