Middle Tenn. town defers vote on restrictions regarding where drag shows can operate

PORTLAND, Tenn. (WKRN) – There were protests outside the city hall in Portland over a proposed ordinance that would essentially ban drag queen shows.

City officials ultimately voted to defer the ordinance Monday night to speak with an attorney general about the matter, among other reasons.

The city of Portland wants to restrict where drag shows could operate, putting them under the city’s “adult cabaret” category, which would mean shows couldn’t happen within certain distances of schools, residential districts, churches, libraries, or daycares.

Elite Productions organized Monday’s rally outside the courthouse, saying its last two drag shows in Portland sold out and the ordinance would put them out of business.

On Monday, an attorney for the Tennessee Equality Project, a gay rights group, sent a notice of intent to file a lawsuit, saying the ordinance violates their First Amendment rights. After hearing the city deferred the vote on the ordinance, Kevin Teets said:

“We commend the city of Portland for their decision to roll this bad bill. The discussion tonight proved that this is indeed a content based restriction on speech and there is no way that the city can amend this bill to make it pass constitutional scrutiny. We will pay attention to what occurs in Portland and our position remains: if the city infringes upon the first amendment rights of my clients, a lawsuit against the City of Portland wil be filed.”

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