Murfreesboro pay half-million dollars for banning Pride & making homosexuality illegal

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Murfreesboro pay half-million dollars for banning Pride & making homosexuality illegal

Settlement Overview

Murfreesboro, Tennessee, has come to a settlement in a federal lawsuit, agreeing to pay $500,000 and to overturn a law that was seen as an attempt to prohibit Pride parades and drag shows.

Original Ordinance and Its Implications

In an initiative from June, Murfreesboro enacted a prohibition on public expressions of sexual conduct, including those actions, materials, or gatherings deemed grossly inappropriate by the standards of the adult population. The banned “sexual conduct” within the city’s regulation encompassed “homosexuality,” leading to a ban on certain books within libraries and educational institutions, as well as efforts to halt the local Pride celebration.

Broad Ban and Legal Challenge

The ordinance in question broadly banned “obscene behavior” in public areas, forbade “obscene materials,” and declared that the city’s legislators hold “the authority to define and uphold contemporary community norms.” The law’s definition was drawn from an older city regulation that expressly prohibited homosexuality in public spaces or any content encouraging homosexuality.

Litigation and Federal Intervention

Litigation was initiated against the city’s actions to suppress an LGBTQ+ group by the Tennessee Equality Project (TEP), the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and the ACLU of Tennessee. This included refusing the group’s applications for event permits and the city ordinance that prohibited drag shows. A federal judge intervened to prevent the shutdown of the local Pride event.

City Council’s Response and Settlement Agreement

At a recent city council assembly, all seven members unanimously agreed to eliminate “homosexuality” from the catalog of sexual conducts banned publicly. According to the settlement, the city is to revoke the entire ordinance.

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Discriminatory Actions and Constitutional Violations

“The City implemented a discriminatory strategy, barring TEP from acquiring permits to conduct its yearly BoroPride Festival and other events on municipal grounds,” declared the ACLU and Tennessee Equality Project (TEP) in their lawsuit. “Subsequently, it passed a prejudiced ordinance aimed at expelling TEP and the city’s LGBTQ+ populace—especially drag artists—from public venues. These measures, motivated by hostility towards the LGBTQ+ community, are manifestly against the constitution.”

Settlement Significance and Future Implications

Despite the mayor and city manager’s previous commitments to decline any applications for a Pride festival, the settlement mandates that they must now impartially treat LGBTQ+ individuals. In a collective statement, lawyers for the ACLU, ACLU of Tennessee, Ballard Spahr, and Burr & Forman proclaimed, “The government lacks the authority to suppress LGBTQ+ individuals and their expressions. Beyond the financial compensation, this settlement broadcasts a potent message that the city’s discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community was overtly unconstitutional and that such conduct will not be accepted here—or in any part of the nation.”

Explore our “Justice & LGBT News” category for the latest updates and insights into the pivotal legal battles and landmark decisions shaping the landscape of LGBTQ+ rights. This section is dedicated to uncovering the stories of courage, resilience, and triumph within the LGBTQ+ community as they navigate the path towards equality and justice. Stay informed with comprehensive coverage and thoughtful analysis of legal proceedings, policy changes, and community responses that highlight the ongoing fight for LGBTQ+ rights and the significant milestones achieved along the way.

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