A federal judge on Friday (March 31) temporarily blocked Tennessee’s first-in-the-nation law placing strict limits on drag shows just hours before it was set to go into effect, siding with a group that filed a lawsuit claiming the statute violates the First Amendment.
The decision comes after Memphis-based Friends of George’s, an LGBTQ+ theater company, filed the federal lawsuit Monday against Shelby County District Attorney Steve Mulroy and the state.
U.S. District Judge Thomas Parker issued the temporary injunction after hearing arguments on both sides Thursday.
Parker wrote that the state has failed to make a compelling argument as to why Tennessee needed the new law, adding that the court also agrees the statute is likely vague and overly broad.
The word “drag” doesn’t appear in the new law, which instead changed the definition of adult cabaret in Tennessee to mean “adult-oriented performances that are harmful to minors.” Furthermore, “male or female impersonators” are now classified as a form of adult cabaret, akin to strippers and topless, go-go and exotic dancers.
The law banned adult cabaret performances from public property or anywhere minors might be…