Gavin Newsom Slams Tennessee City For “Banning” Homosexuality After Public Indecency Law Comes Into Effect

Natasha Biase

Left-wing politicians and activists are claiming that a Tennessee City has “banned” homosexuality after the community passed a municipal ordinance restricting displays of sexual conduct in public primarily with the intention of protecting minors.

According to the New Republic, the ordinance was passed in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, in June and prohibits “indecent exposure, public indecency, lewd behavior, nudity” or sexual conduct.

Ordinance 23-O-22 promotes public decency, maintains family-friendly environments in public places, and protects against harm to minors from public expressions appealing to prurient interests or that are offensive to prevailing community standards,” states the second reading of the ordinance.

In addition to barring indecent exposure, the mandate prohibits any group, corporation, company, or person from displaying indecent materials, broadcasts, shows, and parades that may be harmful to minors.

Though the inclusion of non-explicit same-sex conduct was removed from the ordinance, appearing to have been a vestigial remnant of previous drafts, transgender journalist Erin Reed released an article claiming the mandate resulted in the banning of homosexuality.

In a blog post, Reed, a self-proclaimed “trans queer news and history content creator,” explains that while the mandate was not “immediately enforced,” city officials have since started “to target the LGBTQ+ community” by removing “books that might infringe upon the new statute.” 

Notably, among the titles included in the ban, one titled Flamer follows a teenage boy as he “comes to terms with his sex and sexuality.” In addition to themes of suicide, the graphic novel has faced backlash from parents for depicting sexual acts and vulgar language.

“The Rutherford County Library Board, chiefly composed of appointees from Murfreesboro’s city council and the Rutherford County Commission, met in August to remove books that might infringe upon the new statute,” wrote Reed. 

“At a packed meeting in August, library authorities resolved to withdraw four titles: ‘Flamer, ‘Let’s Talk About It,’ ‘Queerfuly & Wonderfully Made,’ and This Book Is Gay, all of which feature LGBTQ+ content.”

Soon after, left-wing influencers and politicians began spreading the claim that Murfreesboro had “banned homosexuality.” The claim was repeated by California Governor Gavin Newsom, who took to social media yesterday to decry the mandate as homophobic.

“A city in Tennessee has banned being gay in public,” wrote Newsom on X (formerly Twitter). “This is just the beginning. We have to call this out.” Newsom’s post currently has a pending Community Note attempting to clarify that the ordinance banned indecent public behavior, but no corrections have yet been made.

Bryan Tyler Cohen, a left-wing political commentator, repeated the claim, writing:  “A city in Tennessee has banned being gay in public. Murfreesboro, Tennessee passed an ordinance claiming that ‘acts of’ being ‘homosexual’ is considered ‘sexual conduct’ and may no longer be seen in public. The law is also now being used to ban books.”

This is not the first time the media has inaccurately tried to frame laws as homophobic. Last March, Uganda passed a law introducing the death penalty for “aggravated sexuality.”

Although the media attempted to paint the new legislation as a human rights violation for allegedly criminalizing homosexuality, Fox News noted that the bill, signed by President Yoweri Museveni, doesn’t specifically criminalize a person for “identifying as LGBTQ,” and instead targets individuals having “gay sex with someone under the age of 18 or with someone being HIV positive.”

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