18-State Coalition, Legal Group File Briefs Against Court Ruling That Deemed TN Law Shielding Kids From Sexually Explicit Performances ‘Unconstitutional’
Mike Belleme for The Washington Post via Getty Images

A coalition of states and a non-profit legal group separately filed briefs against a district court ruling on Wednesday that purported to block a Tennessee law restricting sexually explicit performances in front of children.

In late June, U.S. District Judge Thomas Parker in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee blocked the state’s “Adult Entertainment Act” after Friends of George’s, a self-described “LGBTQ theatre company” based in Memphis, filed a suit challenging the law.

Parker said the law placed an unconstitutional restriction on freedom of speech and was “unconstitutionally vague and substantially overbroad.”

But an eighteen-state coalition and America First Legal group filed amicus briefs asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit to overturn the district-court ruling and support Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti, who immediately appealed the judgment to defend the state law.

“Protecting children from obscene and lewd behavior is not a new idea. We need to let kids be kids, and the state has legal authority to ensure their protection,” South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson said in a news release reported by The Center Square.

Wilson led the coalition that also included Alabama, Alaska, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia and West Virginia.

“I believe the Court wrongly ruled against the law, and I’m happy to lead a coalition of support for the law on appeal.”

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee signed the law in March that outlawed adult cabaret male or female impersonators from performing “nudity, sexual excitement, sexual conduct, excess violence or sadomasochistic abuse” on public property. However, such “drag shows” could still occur in age-restricted venues under the law.

America First Legal vice president and general counsel Gene Hamilton told The Daily Wire in an emailed statement that the legal group stands with Tennesseeans supporting the law.

“We are proud to stand with our friends in Tennessee in defense of innocent children, and in opposition to erroneous, sweeping court orders that misapply the law based on the urging of radical activists,” Hamilton said.

The legal group argued the district court’s ruling gave Memphis “pride” parade organizers, “drag queens,” and other performers complete freedom to expose children “to harmful sexualized content such as intercourse, masturbation, sado-masochism, and other perverted sex acts.”

“No child should ever be exposed to the conduct at issue in this case — ever — and it is our hope that the Sixth Circuit overturns the injunction in this case,” Hamilton added.

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  18-State Coalition, Legal Group File Briefs Against Court Ruling That Deemed TN Law Shielding Kids From Sexually Explicit Performances ‘Unconstitutional’