Tennessee is just one procedural vote away from becoming the first state to effectively ban public drag performances in the state, setting the stage for a potentially precedent-setting free speech battle in the courts.
If signed by Republican Governor Bill Lee, Tennessee will become the first state to criminalize drag shows in public from a list of more than a dozen states to have sought similar bans.
"This is a common-sense, child safety bill, and I appreciate your support," Republican Representative Chris Todd—one of the bill's sponsors—said ahead of the vote Thursday.
LGBTQ advocates and others, however, have described the bills as unconstitutional restrictions on their freedom of speech and expression.
The first drag ban has passed in Tennessee, and goes to the governors desk.
In this case, opponents of the bills said, bans on drag shows and, in particular, bans on things like drag story hours are unconstitutional at their core.
Because Drag Queen Story Hour intentionally promotes a message of diversity and inclusion, any law banning it discriminates based on viewpoint.". »