Judge delivers blow to Tenn. law aimed at protecting children from sexualized drag performances

A federal judge has temporarily blocked the Tennessee law aimed at protecting children from hyper-sexualized performances, namely drag shows seemingly grooming kids, and his telling decision referenced the protection of religious liberties.

Faced with the possibility of misdemeanor and felony charges should their behavior persist, the Memphis, Tennessee-based LGBTQ theatre company Friends of George’s, Inc. (FOG) scored a win in court Friday in their pursuit of indoctrinating youth. Before the law could go into effect Saturday, U.S. District Judge Thomas Parker, an appointee of former President Donald Trump, of the Western District of Tennessee issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) contending the law was “both vague and overly-broad.”

In his ruling, the judge posed the questions, “Does a citizen’s private residence count? How about a camping ground at a national park? What if a minor browsing the worldwide web from a public library views an ‘adult cabaret performance’? Ultimately, the Statute’s broad language clashes with the First Amendment’s tight constraints.”

The complaint from FOG argued in part, “The law prohibits a drag performer wearing a crop top and mini skirt from dancing where minors might see it, but does not prohibit a Tennessee Titans cheerleader wearing an identical outfit from performing the exact same dance in front of children.”

However, like the much-maligned Florida Parental Rights in Education law errantly referred to as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, the Tennessee law makes no specific mention of drag.

The law makes it “an offense for a person to perform adult cabaret entertainment,” either “on public property; or…in a location where the adult cabaret entertainment could be viewed by a person who is not an adult,” and such performance is defined as, “harmful to minors, as that term is defined in [Tennessee Code Annotated] § 39-17-901, and that feature topless dancers, go-go dancers, exotic dancers, strippers, male or female impersonators, or similar entertainers.”

Of particular note, the same week that a suspected trans individual entered a Nashville, Tennessee Christian school murdering six, including three children; Catholic President Joe Biden joked about the likely motivation of the killer before going on to declare a “Trans Day of Visibility”; and alphabet activists stormed the Tennessee State Capitol to have their demands met, Parker based his ruling of a religious liberties case.

In his TRO, the judge cited the Supreme Court decision in Roman Cath. Diocese of Brooklyn v. Cuomo that stated, “The loss of First Amendment freedoms, for even minimal periods of time, unquestionably constitutes irreparable injury.”

That language itself came from the 1976 Supreme Court ruling on Elrod v. Burns regarding the political speech of public employees, which in turn referred to the 1971 case of New York Times Co. v. United States, but Parker called out the ruling against then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) whose COVID restrictions had demanded the closure of religious institutions and houses of worship, violating the constitutionally protected right of Americans to worship.

As Fox News host Tucker Carlson recently put it, “the trans movement is the mirror image of Christianity, and therefore its natural enemy,” and through his TRO, Parker seemed to affirm the notion that the queer ideology is in and of itself a religion.

The TRO was set to expire 14 days from Friday, barring an extension and a status conference with the plaintiff and defendants would be scheduled in the coming days.


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