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Judge: Tennessee Can't Require Warnings on Trans-Inclusive Restrooms

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ruled Tuesday.“It would do a disservice to the First Amendment to judge the Act for anything other than what it is: a brazen attempt to single out trans-inclusive establishments and force them to parrot a message that they reasonably believe would sow fear and misunderstanding about the very transgender Tennesseans whom those establishments are trying to provide with some semblance of a safe and welcoming environment,” Trauger wrote.The law was passed last year, and in July, Trauger issued a temporary injunction against it, blocking its enforcement.

Her new decision blocks it permanently unless the ruling is overturned on appeal.She granted summary judgment — a ruling without a full trial — in a lawsuit against the state brought by a restaurant owner represented by the American Civil Liberties Union. “If the law had gone into effect,” an ACLU press release notes, any business that allowed transgender and intersex people to use the restroom that most aligns with who they are would be forced to post signs with the word ‘NOTICE’ in yellow on a red background at the top, followed by text stating, ‘THIS FACILITY MAINTAINS A POLICY OF ALLOWING THE USE OF RESTROOMS BY EITHER BIOLOGICAL SEX, REGARDLESS OF THE DESIGNATION ON THE RESTROOM,’ or face criminal charges.”In her ruling, Trauger wrote, “The defendants argue that Tennessee’s law is nothing but a harmless, content-neutral rule directed at clarifying restroom signage, not a public jab at transgender Tennesseans or an endorsement of a particular vision of how gender identity should be understood.

Even a cursory examination of the facts, however, reveals that the government’s defense of the law is, at best, a thin and unconvincing veneer applied to a law that does exactly.

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