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Tennessee's Ban on Drag Declared Unconstitutional at Federal Level

Friend of Georges, Google Maps

Tennessee made national headlines for its ban on public drag shows, but the Adult Entertainment Act was deemed unconstitutional late Friday night just two days into Pride month.

“After considering the briefs and evidence presented at trial, the Court finds that. . .the Adult Entertainment Act . . . is an UNCONSTITUTIONAL restriction on the freedom of speech,” according to the official court document.

District Judge Thomas Parker, who oversaw this case, was appointed by former President Donald Trump, who has publicly supported the AEA, claiming it has negative psychological and physical impacts on children.

Despite this, Parker found the law “unconstitutionally vague and substantially broad” while also encouraging “discriminatory enforcement,” according to NPR.

The bill prohibited any “adult cabaret performance” in public spaces and in front of children. The first offense resulted in a Class A misdemeanor and the second offense became a Class E felony.

Friends of George’s, an LGBTQIA+ theater company based in Memphis, sued the Tennessee General Assembly for restricting freedom of speech under the First and Fourteenth Amendments.

“We are committed to landing a victory against hate. We stand in firm solidarity with all drag performers, the greater LGBTQIA+ community and countless allies in the fight for Justice, self-expression, and pursuit of happiness,” board member Goldie Dee said in Friend of George’s official press release.

This federal decision has no impact on other states including Florida who have enacted similar acts since their cases have not been brought to a federal level.

The state of Tennessee could still choose to take this case to the Supreme Court, but for now, the ban on drag is no longer.

This article was written by Gracie Anderson

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