Tennessee Pride Chamber Establishes Legal Defense Fund & Network to Protect Drag Performers, Festivals and Businesses
Tennessee’s Largest Law Firms & Independent Firms Join Forces to Protect The First Amendment & Defend Against Discriminatory Enforcement Actions By Local & State Governments
The Tennessee Pride Chamber has created a legal defense network and fund to protect drag performers, businesses and festivals impacted by the anti-LGBTQ+ legislation passed at the Tennessee Legislature. The legal defense network includes a mix of some of Tennessee’s largest law firms and independent law firms who are committed to fighting for equality in Tennessee. The law firms have committed tens of thousands of pro-bono hours while the Tennessee Pride Chamber Foundation will fund and offset some of the legal out of pocket costs.
“Drag is not a crime,” said Brian Rosman, President of the Tennessee Pride Chamber. “We will protect the First Amendment rights of LGBTQ+ and allied businesses, festivals and performers throughout the state, whether they are in a city, suburb or rural farm community.”
Even though a judge has struck down one of the laws, a wave of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation has emboldened extremists and anti-LGBT public officials to target drag. Local governments are trying to deny Pride festival permits. Businesses that host drag shows are losing their leases and facing threats from extremist groups. Many businesses are worried that state and local governments will use other forms of licensing, selective code enforcement and targeted actions to drive them out of business. Overly broad legislation has created confusion throughout the state as to what is even legal.
The legal defense fund is launching with an impressive roster of firms, including Bass, Berry & Sims, Holland & Knight, K&L Gates, Music City Law, Nelson Mullins, and Rubenfeld Law Office. The Tennessee Stonewall Bar Association will work with potential plaintiffs and defendants to connect them to the appropriate firms. The firms will individually represent potential plaintiffs and defendants while the Tennessee Pride Chamber Foundation will help to fund out-of-pocket expenses.
Potential plaintiffs and defendants seeking representation can submit their information using this form. Additional law firms seeking to join the legal defense network can contact email@example.com. The Tennessee Pride Chamber Foundation is collecting donations online at tnpridechamber.com.