Judge orders Tennessee law enforcement to stand down ahead of Pride event

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A federal judge granted a temporary order on Friday to prevent local Tennessee police from interfering in an upcoming Pride celebration. The order was issued by District Judge J. Ronnie Greer of Eastern District of Tennessee (a George W. Bush appointment) after Blount county district attorney general Ryan Desmond sent a warning to local leaders and event organizers that a planned pride festival in the county on Saturday “may violate certain federal criminal statutes in Tennessee”. Desmond referred to “The Adult Entertainment Act” (AEA), a Tennessee law enacted last March which criminalizes drag shows that are performed in public, or in places where children can see In a separate case, a federal judge ruled that the AEA was unconstitutional earlier this year. He found it violated freedom of speech rights. Desmond acknowledged that ruling in his letter but stated it only applied to that judicial district.

After the judge’s restraining orders, Blount Pride Board President Ari Baker stated that they were relieved the court had taken action in order to prevent law enforcement from applying this unconstitutional laws incorrectly. This ruling will allow us to achieve Blount Pride’s goal to create a safe space for LGBTQ people who want to celebrate, connect and share resources. The Hill reached out to Blount County’s District Attorney General. All rights reserved.

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