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Tennessee Judge Extends Temporary Block On Anti-Drag Law

A Tennessee federal judge extended the temporary restraining order against a new law in the state that bans public drag shows and restricts drag shows from happening in the presence of minors.

Image Credit: Pixabay

The extension will last until May 26, according to Melissa Stewart, one of the attorneys representing the drag-centric theatre group Friends of George’s.

A trial date is set for May 22, according to ‘Advocate’. 

Memphis-based Friends of George’s sued the state last week over the law.

The organisation wrote on Twitter Wednesday afternoon, “The temporary restraining order has been extended to May 26 while we continue to fight this unjust law.”

In their suit, the group said the law “explicitly [restricts or chills] speech and expression protected by the First Amendment based on its content, its message, and its messenger.”

On Friday, U.S. District Court Judge Thomas L. Parker, an appointee of former President Donald Trump, handed down a 14-day temporary restraining order only hours before the law was to go into effect Saturday.

In his order, Parker explained that the state hadn’t provided “a clear answer to the Statute's purpose considering current state obscenity laws, along with the Parties' present filings on the Statute's legislative history, the Court finds that Plaintiff has made a likely case for subjecting the Statute to strict scrutiny here.”

He noted that the restrictions placed on the theatre were not “trifling issues for a theater company — certainly not in the free, civil society we hold our country to be.”

The anti-drag legislation was signed into law last month by Republican Gov. Bill Lee. It passed along with a bill banning gender-affirming care for youth.

Those found in violation of the law, which affects “adult cabaret entertainment” with “male or female impersonators,” could face felony charges on repeat offences. It bans drag performances from public property or venues that “could be viewed by a person who is not an adult.”

Representatives for Friends of George’s weren’t immediately available for comment. Lee’s office was also not immediately available for comment.

Read related myGwork articles here:

Country Star Maren Morris Introduces Toddler To Drag Queens: “So Tennessee, F–king Arrest Me”

Tennessee Suppresses Drag Shows, Bans Gender-Affirming Care For Kids

Yo La Tengo Dress In Drag To Protest Tennessee’s Drag Ban

Daniel Scheinert  Says Drag “Is a Threat to Nobody” During 2023 Oscars Acceptance Speech

Tennessee GOP Files Bill To Ban Public Drag Performances

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