MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WREG) — A federal judge has ruled that Tennessee’s law restricting drag performances is unconstitutional after a Memphis organization challenged the law, according to court documents.
This comes after Friends of George’s, an LGBTQ theatre company in Memphis, filed a lawsuit after the bill was signed into law by Gov. Bill Lee on March 2.
The bill did not explicitly state the words “drag show” but it changed the definition of adult cabaret in Tennessee’s law to mean “adult-oriented performances that are harmful to minors” with “male or female impersonators” falling under adult cabaret among topless dancers, go-go dancers, exotic dancers, and strippers.
Before the law was set to go into effect in April, a federal judge granted a temporary restraining order blocking enforcement of the law. At the time, the judge agreed with Friends of George’s, finding it was “likely both vague and overly broad.”
Friends of George’s celebrated Friday’s ruling on Saturday morning, stating in a social media post, “WE WON! Judge Parker has declared Tennessee’s anti-drag law unconstitutional! Friends of George’s would like to thank Brice Timmons and Melissa Stewart of Donati Law and all who have stood by us during this fight!”
Mid-South Pride, an LGBTQ non-profit in the Memphis area, said in a statement the ruling “sends a powerful message” and “stands as a victory for those who dare to be different, challenge the status quo, and, most importantly, dare to be themselves.”
See the full document below:
This is not the first lawsuit to challenge laws targeting LGBTQ people in the state. Gov. Bill Lee signed a bill prohibiting gender-affirming care for minors earlier this year. The U.S. Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against the state in April.