Friday, July 9, 2021

Federal judge temporarily blocks Tennessee’s anti-transgender restroom law

by Natalie Neysa Alund, The Tennessean -  A federal judge on Friday temporarily blocked Tennessee’s anti-transgender restroom law.  The first-of-its-kind law requires businesses to post signs about trans-friendly bathrooms and took effect July 1. It was signed by Gov. Bill Lee in May. 

Middle District of Tennessee Judge Aleta A. Trauger issued the ruling Friday granting a temporary injunction against enforcing the law. The American Civil Liberties Union and its Tennessee chapter filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of two business owners late last month. The new law, the complaint argued, is "unconstitutional" and violates businesses' First Amendment right "against compelled speech." 

“If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein," Trauger wrote in her 31-page order. "That rule is not founded simply on an abstract love of unfettered and uncompelled speech," Trauger wrote. "The First Amendment holds its privileged place in our constitutional system because, 'whenever the Federal Government or a State prevents individuals from saying what they think on important matters or compels them to voice ideas with which they disagree, it undermines' both 'our democratic form of government' and the very 'search for truth' necessary for a thriving society to persist." (read more)

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