A federal judge has issued a temporary block against a Tennessee city’s ban on drag shows being held on taxpayer-funded public property.
Chief U.S. District Court Judge Waverly Crenshaw Jr., a Barack Obama appointee, ruled in an order issued Friday.
The judge ruled that officials in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, are prohibited from enforcing the ordinance during the BoroPride Festival scheduled for next weekend.
The order came in response to a lawsuit filed earlier this month by the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee.
The suit was filed on behalf of a nonprofit group that advocates for LGBTQ+ rights called the Tennessee Equality Project.
The group has hosted the BoroPride Festival since 2016.
The city of Murfreesboro and the equality project reached an agreement that the city will not enforce the ordinance during the Pride festival on October 28, the order states.
The lawsuit claims the ordinance discriminates against the LGBTQ+ community and violates free speech protections granted by the First Amendment.
The ACLU alleges that the order “confirms that the community’s free speech rights will be protected at the BoroPride Festival,” as litigation over the city ordinance continues.
Tennessee Equality Project Executive Director Chris Sanders said in a statement:
“We are relieved that the court has taken action to ensure that Murfreesboro’s discriminatory ordinance will not be enforced during the BoroPride festival.
“We look forward to a safe, joyful celebration of Murfreesboro’s LGBTQ+ community.”
The lawsuit is the latest effort to challenge the state’s Republican-led proposals to limit drag performances in public places where children may be present.
GOP lawmakers argue that the performances are inappropriate for younger audiences.
Conservative activists have warned that the drag performances at the 2022 Pride event resulted in the “sexualization of kids.”
The equality project contends that the performers were fully clothed and denied accusations that the shows were inappropriate for children.
However, many argued that the shows had sexual themes and appeared to be targeted toward children.
The city warned the equality project that it would deny any future event permits and later approved updating its “community decency standards.”
The standards are designed to “assist in the determination of conduct, materials, and events that may be judged as obscene or harmful to minors.”