Thursday, February 08, 2024

Tennessee city learns $500,000 lesson after unsuccessful attempt to ban drag shows


In June 2023, I made the following comments about the right-wing push to ban drag shows:

We have now entered the phase in which those who spread and entertained the lie that drag queens are 'grooming' kids are going to have to defend their mess in a court of law. And under oath. They've f@cked around for a long while. Now it's time for them to find out. 

 A recent lawsuit settlement just proved my point. 

 The Murfreesboro government has agreed to pay $500,000 and repeal an ordinance discriminatory to LGBTQ+ people to settle a lawsuit with BoroPride, the ACLU announced Wednesday. The American Civil Liberties Union provided legal representation with BoroPride annual festival organizers with the Tennessee Equality Project led by Chris Sanders, according to an ACLU press release.

 . . . The issue started October 2022 when Murfreesboro City Manager Craig Tindall sent a letter to BoroPride organizers telling them the city would deny future permits and accused the 2022 LGBTQ+ festival and drag show of exposing “children to a harmful prurient interest.”

 BoroPride attracted more than 7,000 people to the 2022 festival held at Cannonsburgh Village, a Murfreesboro historic parks and recreation property off U.S. Highway 41 and across the street from nearby City Hall in the downtown area. Festival organizers relocated the 2023 BoroPride to Tennessee Miller Coliseum in north Murfreesboro. The coliseum property is owned by Middle Tennessee State University.

 In addition, according to The Murfreesboro Daily News Journal, the city council also passed a "community decency standards ordinance." That ordinance was repealed in December due to the lawsuit. 

 . . . The $500,000 settlement compensates for harm caused and reimburse attorneys’ fees . . . and accept and process any future event permit applications from BoroPride organizers, according to the press release. The Murfreesboro city manager is prohibited under the terms from reviewing any future permit requests from the Tennessee Equality Project (TEP), the press release said.

 "The parties filed suit in federal court after Tindall and Murfreesboro Mayor Shane McFarland engaged in a yearlong, concerted anti-LGBTQ+ campaign to chill TEP and Murfreesboro residents’ protected speech and expression," the press release said.

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

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