Wednesday, April 05, 2023

Judge extends restraining order against law banning drag shows until late May. Trial date set for May 22.

Lawmakers attempting to police drag out of existence should pay attention to what's going on in Tennessee. It's could be predicting the fruits of their endeavors.

From The Advocate:

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. The extension will last until May 26, according to Melissa Stewart, one of the attorneys representing the drag-centric theater group Friends of George’s. A trial date is set for May 22. Memphis-based Friends of George’s sued the state last week over the law. The organization 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."

 . . . 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 offenses. It bans drag performances from public property or venues that “could be viewed by a person who is not an adult.” 

 We are getting past the legislative strong-arming and the whispering campaigns on Twitter focusing on misrepresented, anecdotal incidents. We are moving into a new venue in this fight in which folks pushing these drag bans have to defend them in a court of law under oath. 

We will see if the witness stand is still a lonely place to lie for conservatives in this situation as it was for marriage equality.  I personally think that notion still holds. 

 Editor's note - I am reposting this list of the times in which drag queens and drag shows have been deliberately mischaracterized as x-rated by those on the right. A paper trail exists for those willing to seek it out:

Far right activists don't know the difference between a circus act and a drag show

'Some lawmakers are trying to police drag out of existence' & other Wed midday news briefs

Some States Want To Say Where You Can And Can't Be In Drag - It's stupid and it won't work. But they will try anyway. 

Kid Rock shot up Bud Light cans in response to trans influencer partnership - Seriously Kid Rock? But I bet you bought the beer first. 

Texas GOP Votes to Halt Gender-Affirming Care for Existing Patients - These people are simply cruel. It will come back on them.

DeSantis Abandons Florida's Most Vulnerable Kids While Posing As Protector - About time someone points this out.