A federal judge on Friday temporarily blocked a Tennessee law restricting drag shows, just one day before it was set to go into effect.
U.S. District Judge Thomas Parker granted a temporary restraining order blocking enforcement of the law for two weeks, finding that it was “likely both vague and overly-broad.”
The law, signed by Gov. Bill Lee (R) last month, criminalized drag shows that take place in public or where they could be seen by children.
Parker agreed with Friends of George’s, the Memphis-based LGBTQ theater group contesting the law, that “this language could mean just about anywhere.”
“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’?” Parker said in Friday’s ruling. “Ultimately, the Statute’s broad language clashes with the First Amendment’s tight constraints.”
The judge acknowledged that the temporary restraining order represents an “extraordinary remedy,” noting that he “does not take such actions lightly.”
“If Tennessee wishes to exercise its police power in restricting speech it considers obscene, it must do so within the constraints and framework of the United States Constitution,” Parker added. “The Court finds that, as it stands, the record here suggests that when the legislature passed this Statute, it missed the mark.”