Tennessee set to restrict public drag shows | WORLD
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Tennessee set to restrict public drag shows

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee delivers his State of the State Address in the House Chamber on Monday, Feb. 6, 2023, in Nashville, Tenn. Photo by Mark Zaleski for The Associated Press.

Tennessee set to restrict public drag shows

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee has promised to sign a bill that would protect children in the state from exposure to indecent live performances. The Tennessee Senate passed the legislation on Thursday along party lines, and it passed the state House last week. The bill would include “male and female impersonators” in the state’s definition of “adult cabaret performances” that are deemed “harmful to children” as defined by the state’s obscenity law. The legislation would limit adult cabaret—which would now include drag events—to private spaces where no children are present. Nearly a dozen states with Republican-led state legislatures are working on similar bills, but Tennessee could be the first to approve a law.

How would offenders be punished? An initial violation of the law will merit a misdemeanor, a possible fine of up to $2,500, and a maximum sentence of about a year in prison. Repeat offenders could end up in jail for six years and pay fines of up to $3,000. Similar laws are pending in Idaho, North Dakota, Montana, and Oklahoma.

Dig deeper: Read Brad Littlejohn’s column in WORLD Opinions about Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ fight to protect children from drag shows by advocating for parental rights.

Elias Ferenczy

Elias Ferenczy is a breaking news intern for WORLD. He’s a graduate of WORLD Journalism Institute and Covenant College.

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