A civic no no in Murfreesboro,Tennessee Source: Getty Images

Tennessee Town Bans Same-Sex Public Displays of Affection

Emell Adolphus READ TIME: 2 MIN.

A town in Tennessee has found a way to target the LGBTQ community in a new city ordinance.

As reported by LGBTQ Nation, in June the city of Murfreesboro banned public displays of sexual behavior, including "behaviors, materials or events that are patently offensive to the adult community."

The "sexual conduct" banned under the city ordinance includes "homosexuality," masturbation, sexual intercourse or "physical contact with a person's clothed or unclothed genitals, pubic area, buttocks or, if such a person be female."

Furthermore, the ordinance outlaws "indecent behavior" and "indecent materials," which is sufficiently vague enough that what qualifies as "indecent" will be up to the discretion of law enforcement. And that always turns out well for the public.

The ordinance, 23-0-22, states that local lawmakers have "the right to establish and preserve contemporary community standards."

In effect, local lawmakers have empowered police to police whatever they deem offensive to the conservative community.

"No person shall knowingly while in a public space engage in indecent behavior," according to the ordinance reads, including violations that "subject minors to a prurient interest or to behaviors."

Initially, the ordinance was used to target people for arrest during local Pride events. Now it is being used to ban LGBTQ+ content in the city's library.

A court challenge, filed by the ACLU on behalf of BoroPride, pushes back on the claim that homosexuality itself is "indecent" and therefore punishable by law.

"The ordinance incorporates an earlier provision that defines indecent behavior as including not simply masturbation and sexual intercourse (which most would agree are inappropriate in public), but also any acts of 'homosexuality' as a whole," according to the ACLU's challenge. "Thus, under the Ordinance and the incorporated definition, any acts that are homosexual in nature or any material or event even suggesting homosexuality could be considered indecent and subject to civil and criminal penalties."

by Emell Adolphus

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