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Anti-drag Law Declared Unconstitutional
It is only the beginning of Pride month but there already seems to be some good news for the LGBTQ community. The first ever anti-drag law of the United States of America, the Tennessee Senate Bill 3 or the Adult Entertainment Act was all set to be enacted soon.
However, a federal judge has ruled the Drag Ban to be unconstitutional. The strict limits were what led the law to be declared unconstitutional. Unconstitutionally vague and overbroad were the terms that were used by Federal Judge Thomas Parker. United States district judge Parker was appointed by Donald Trump, the former President of the United States of America.
Judge Parker reassured that obscenity is still not protected under the first amendment to the United States Constitution. However, what is considered obscene is different in vernacular form and under the legal definition. Sexually explicit performances such as adult cabaret would be banned under the law from being performed publicly or on public property. Any person under the jurisdiction of the law who flouted these regulations would stand a chance of being charged with a misdemeanor or felony.
LGBTQ theatre groups have also voiced their concerns because so far they were able to perform drag performances and other comic pieces without any age restriction. This ruling by Judge Thomas has been welcomed by the LGBTQ community and various theatre companies. The judgment has truly reaffirmed the rights bestowed upon them by the First Amendment to the US Constitution still stand strong.
Judge Parker also used an example to depict how vague the law was going to be. He stated that if a female artist were to put Elvis Presley in his costume and mimic him, this could be interpreted under this new drag law as a male impersonator.
This judgment has also been viewed as a Triumph over hate. LGBTQ community has stated that these instances of collective success heavily rely on if one decides to speak up against bigotry and injustice.
Republican members of the United States have spoken up against this ruling. They seem to be disappointed and feel that this ruling represents a victory for people who support sexual entertainment exposed to children. Republican Senate leader Mr. Johnson has said that he hopes that an appeal will overturn this disappointing ruling.
The Republican Legislature of the state of Tennessee had earlier advocated for this anti-drag law. The Republicans were of the opinion that the various drag performances that went about in their hometowns should be restricted from children’s view. The exact word “drag” was not in the statute but was rather referred to as “adult-oriented performance” which could harm the minors. The scope of the law also included male and female impersonators.
The governor of the state science the law and it was all set to take effect on the first of April 2023. However, the law was later blocked when Federal judges sided with the group that challenged the statute. This anti-drag statute marks the second major law that was proposed by Tennessee law makers targetting the LGBTQ community.
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By Jyoti Jha03 Oct 2023