A federal judge on Friday blocked a
new, first-of-its-kind law in Tennessee that requires businesses to
post a warning sign if they allow transgender people to use the
bathroom of their choice.
Governor Bill Lee, a Republican, signed
the bill into law in May.
U.S. District Judge Aleta A. Trauger
said that the law compels business owners “to say something that
they do not wish to say, in furtherance of a message they do not
The law mandates a sign that reads:
“NOTICE: This facility maintains a policy of allowing the use of
restrooms by either biological sex, regardless of the designation on
Plaintiffs in the case are a group of
business owners in Nashville and Chattanooga who object to the sign's
message. They argued that the law violates the First Amendment.
Plaintiffs were represented by the ACLU
“Forcing businesses to display a
stigmatizing message for political expedience is unconstitutional,”
Hedy Weinberg, ACLU of Tennessee executive director.
“Furthermore, by targeting the transgender community, these
government-mandated signs marginalize and endanger transgender
individuals. Tennessee should be embracing and protecting all
Tennesseans, not passing unconstitutional discriminatory laws.”
Kye Sayers, owner of Sanctuary, a
performing arts and community center in Chattanooga and a plaintiff
in the lawsuit, said that the signs “would have damaged our
businesses and the environment we have tried to create for our
community, customers, and staff.”