Scroll To Top

Tennessee Judge Extends Temporary Block on Anti-Drag Law

Tennessee Judge Extends Temporary Block on Anti-Drag Law

Drag show tour

The judge had issued the original block last Friday only hours before the law was to take effect.


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."

He noted that the restrictions placed on the theater were not “trifling issues for a theater company — certainly not in the free, civil society we hold our country to be.”

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.”

Representatives for Friends of George’s weren’t immediately available for comment. Lee’s office was also not immediately available for comment.

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

From our Sponsors

Most Popular

Latest Stories