Judge Blocks Tennessee Law Protecting Children From Viewing Sexually Explicit Performances
Bill Lee, governor of Tennessee, listens during the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Dallas, Texas, U.S., on Saturday, July 10, 2021. The three-day conference is titled "America UnCanceled."
Photographer: Dylan Hollingsworth/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A federal judge in Tennessee blocked a law on Friday that was intended to protect children from being exposed to “adult cabaret” performances, including sexually explicit drag shows

The law was temporarily blocked by U.S. District Judge Thomas Parker, who issued a temporary injunction against the law and said it was too vague and could be a violation of the First Amendment. 

“Does a citizen’s private residence count? How about a camping ground at a national park?” Parker said in his decision. “Ultimately, the Statute’s broad language clashes with the First Amendment’s tight constraints.”

According to a summary of the law, it “creates an offense for a person who engages in an adult cabaret performance on public property or in a location where the adult cabaret performance could be viewed by a person who is not an adult.” 

The definition of adult cabaret performance in the law includes “male or female impersonators.” 

“I think we would all agree that some of the video we have seen recently of some of these drag shows that were quote-unquote family-friendly were anything but that. And If I had attended one of those with my kids I would have been mortified and I would have wanted someone to be prosecuted for engaging in that kind of entertainment in front of my kids,” Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson (R-Franklin) told The Daily Wire shortly after announcing he would be introducing a law to protect children from “sexually explicit” performances last year. 

The law came before Parker after Friends of George’s, a self-described “LGBTQ theatre company” based in Memphis filed a suit challenging the law. Several upcoming shows by the company include “Drag Rocks” and “The Dragnificent Variety Show: The Gay Ole Opry.”

“The law prohibits a drag performer wearing a crop top and mini skirt from dancing where minors might see it, but does not prohibit a Tennessee Titans cheerleader wearing an identical outfit from performing the exact same dance in front of children,” the group claimed in a complaint. 


Democrat Shelby County District Attorney Steve Mulroy told The Associated Press that he does not mind that an injunction was placed on the law. 

“There has been much concern and confusion about the law from the community,” he said. “This will allow the court to clarify the scope, application, and constitutionality of the statute. It’s important to understand the scope of this law so that it doesn’t have a harmful effect on constitutionally protected expression.”

In the last year, footage has emerged from around the country, including in Texas, that has appeared to show children present at sexually explicit drag shows, prompting some lawmakers to introduce legislation.

Create a free account to join the conversation!

Already have an account?

Log in

Got a tip worth investigating?

Your information could be the missing piece to an important story. Submit your tip today and make a difference.

Submit Tip
Download Daily Wire Plus

Don't miss anything

Download our App

Stay up-to-date on the latest
news, podcasts, and more.

Download on the app storeGet it on Google Play
The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  Judge Blocks Tennessee Law Protecting Children From Viewing Sexually Explicit Performances