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Federal Judge Temporarily Blocks Trans Bathroom Law


A federal judge appointed by former President Bill Clinton issued a temporary injunction stopping the state of Tennessee from enforcing its new bathrooms signage law.

HB 1182 requires businesses that allow both biological sexes to use the same bathroom, locker room, or other typically-single sex area, to post signage reading “this facility maintains a policy of allowing the use of restrooms by either biological sex regardless of the designation of the restroom.”

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), a known transgender rights group, sued the state on behalf of two Tennessee businesses. In a separate lawsuit, Mike Curb, owner of Curb Records and former Republican Lieutenant Governor of California, also sued the state.

Star News Education Foundation Journalism ProjectThe ACLU’s lawsuit claims such signage is a violation of the First Amendment rights of private businesses.

Middle District of Tennessee Judge Aleta A. Trauger agreed.

“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 a decision to temporarily block the law from being enforced.

“That rule is not founded simply on an abstract love of unfettered and uncompelled speech,” Trauger continued. “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.”

She called the new law a “brazen violation” of the First Amendment.

The ACLU celebrated the ruling on Twitter, describing the law as “anti-trans.”

“A federal court has blocked Tennessee’s anti-trans restroom law from going into effect,” the group said. “Our clients, two Tennessee business owners with trans-inclusive restroom practices, challenged the law that would have forced them to post a government-prescribed warning sign.”

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Pete D’Abrosca is a contributor at The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network. Follow Pete on Twitter. Email tips to
Photo “Gender Neutral Bathrooms” by tedeytan. CC BY-SA 2.0.