A federal judge has issued a temporary restraining order against Tennessee District Attorney Ryan Desmond, preventing him from enforcing the state’s Adult Entertainment Act. This law is designed to shield children from sexually explicit performances.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a lawsuit against Desmond after he sent a letter to Blount County Pride warning them against hosting any explicit performances at their upcoming event on September 2, located just south of Knoxville.
The ACLU argues that Desmond’s letter was a targeted attempt to suppress free speech and chill the activities of Blount County Pride and the drag artists scheduled to perform. This is not the first time the law has faced legal challenges.
Previously, a federal judge in Memphis also blocked the law after it was challenged by Friends of George’s, a self-described “LGBTQ theatre company” based in Memphis.
Blount County Pride, represented by the ACLU, claims that Desmond’s actions were a “naked attempt to chill free speech.” The law has been supported by an 18-state coalition and America First Legal, who argue that the law is essential for the protection of children.
South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson emphasized that the state has the legal authority to ensure the protection of children from obscene and lewd behavior.