Quick Takes – Unbannable Drag: In Tennessee; In Florida; In Montana

     Another “quick takes” on items where there is too little to say to make a complete article, but is still important enough to comment on.

     The focus this time: You will feel fabulous! Or Else.

     First, a little mood music:

     Carrying on…

     Gyrating in public while cross-dressing is OK in Tennessee.

“Back in March, when Tennessee passed the first law in the country banning drag shows where children might see them, the first thing I thought was that it would be challenged immediately. My second thought was that the challenge would probably succeed. Now, both of those things have come to pass. A Memphis LGBTQ theater group sued to strike down the law, saying it violated their First Amendment rights. And now, U.S. District Judge Thomas Parker (a Trump appointee, for whatever that’s worth) has agreed and temporarily put the law on hold. He described the law as being ‘vague and overly broad.’”

     Gyrating in public while cross-dressing is OK in Florida.

“I’m inclined to be skeptical of some of the court’s analysis; for instance, if a cancer survivor has prosthetic genitals, I would think that they could be just as forbidden to display them to children in a sexually themed performance as the rest of us are as to our genitals. Nor is it clear to me that the statute’s coverage of noncommercial performances makes a First Amendment difference. First Amendment protection for books, newspapers, movies, performances, and other speech generally doesn’t turn on whether they are provided for money or for free; a freely distributed leaflet is no more and no less protected than the New York Times. And I’m not sure that the Florida statute that provides for parental rights affects the constitutionality of this statute; a new statute may permissibly carve out exceptions from an old one.

“But on balance I do think that, if the statute indeed excludes parental consent, that’s likely inconsistent with Ginsberg, which upheld a ban on distributing obscene-as-to-minors material to children in party because it supported the choices of parents”

     Gyrating in public while cross-dressing is OK in Montana.

“A federal district court judge Friday put a temporary block on a new state law banning drag performances where minors could be present.

“District court judge Brian Morris’ ruling comes two days before the start of Montana Pride, scheduled to run through Aug. 6 in Helena. Morris says the law, which bans drag performance in public places where there might be children is a possible violation of the First Amendment protections of free speech.

“The law was passed by the 2023 Montana Legislature and signed by Gov. Greg Gianforte in late May.

“Plaintiffs argued that the law could infringe upon scheduled Pride celebration events.”


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