A U.S. federal judge has struck down a Tennessee law requiring establishments to notify patrons with signage that transgender people could use the restrooms of their choice.
Under the opposed law, businesses were required to post signage, featuring the words: “Notice. This facility maintains a policy of allowing the use of restrooms by either biological sex, regardless of the designation on the restroom.”
The wording had to be in bold, uppercase letters outside certain public bathrooms, locker rooms, and changing rooms, and also applied to public facilities on government-owned grounds.
In defending the law in court, the state of Tennessee argued that the signs are merely factual.
State Rep. Tim Rudd (R-Tenn.), who sponsored the law, has said it was needed to protect women and girls from possible sexual predators taking advantage of loose restroom policies.
Months later, in October 2021, a Virginia father said his daughter was raped in a school bathroom by a boy who considered himself bisexual and liked to wear dresses. The father argued that, while the boy was not technically transgender, “kids are using” loose restroom policies “as an advantage to get into the bathrooms.”
However, U.S. District Judge Aleta Trauger said there was no evidence provided in the court challenge for claims that there was a risk of sexual assault or rape, and no reason to think the signs would address such an alleged issue.
In her written ruling, Trauger said there were no consensus issues of sex and gender and that state officials had no authority to wish away opposing viewpoints.
The Epoch Times reached out to Rudd for comment.
The 2021 law, signed by Republican Gov. Bill Lee, was challenged in the courts with federal lawsuits by businesses arguing the signage would violate their First Amendment rights by compelling them to communicate language they find offensive.
In her decision, the judge said the law “would sow fear and misunderstanding” about transgender Tennesseans.
The law was signed by Republican Gov. Bill Lee in 2021. Lee has similar bills seeking to protect access to gender-specific bathrooms in schools as well as preserve women’s athletics and ensure fair competition in sporting codes.
The transgender signage law was inserted into state building codes. Violators would be issued with a warning, followed by a misdemeanor offense potentially punishable by up to six months in jail and up to a $500 fine.
The law was temporarily blocked by the judge in July last year before being overturned.