Jul 10, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Court blocks Tennessee law requiring transgender bathroom sign

Picture of a sign that says "Protect trans kids"

Photo: DEREK R. HENKLE/AFP via Getty Images

A federal court on Friday blocked a Tennessee law that requires businesses and public facilities to post a sign notifying patrons and visitors that they allow transgender individuals to use the bathrooms that correspond to their gender identity.

State of play: Judge Aleta Trauger of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee granted a preliminary injunction halting the implementation of the law.

  • The ACLU filed a lawsuit last month on behalf of businesses, which have "trans-inclusive restroom practices."

What they're saying: Trauger said that since the plaintiffs argued that "the First Amendment typically does not permit such a mandate unless it is narrowly tailored to satisfy a compelling government purpose," they "are likely to succeed on their challenge," so allowing the law to be enforced while the litigation is ongoing would "harm them irreparably."

  • "The plaintiffs have presented evidence that they have strived to be welcoming spaces for communities that include transgender individuals and that the signage required by the Act would disrupt the welcoming environments that they wish to provide," Trauger wrote.

Catch up quick: In May, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee (R) signed the bill into law, which demands businesses that are trans-inclusive display a sign that reads: "This facility maintains a policy of allowing the use of restrooms by either biological sex, regardless of the designation on the restroom."

Go deeper