NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Bills to potentially criminalize some drag shows and ban children’s transgender therapy passed the Tennessee House Thursday and are all but certain to become law now.
The drag bill heads to the Senate for one final vote on a last-minute amendment. The children’s transgender therapy ban heads to the governor’s desk.
“Like any piece of legislation, I will look at the details of it when it gets closer to my desk,” Gov. Bill Lee (R-Tennessee) said of both pieces of legislation. “But I’m grateful for the leadership in both houses who have worked to protect kids along those lines. I’m supportive of that concept for sure.”
Democrats argued as much as House leadership allowed during the morning House session.
“This bill is a solution in search of a problem,” Rep. Justin Jones (D-Nashville). “But I believe my colleagues on the other side of the aisle already know that.”
But in the end, the bills prevailed on party line or near-party line votes. On the bill to ban children’s transgender therapy, Rep. Yusuf Hakeem (D-Chattanooga), Rep. Joe Towns, Jr. (D-Memphis) and Rep. Antonio Parkinson (D-Memphis) joined every Republican who voted for the bill.
“We sought compromise on that bill, and unfortunately couldn’t get the House GOP to walk away from the extremist pushing this legislation from the special interest groups,” Rep. John Ray Clemmons (D-Nashville) said.
Clemmons, the House Democratic Caucus Chairman, was referring to uber-right-wing blogger Matt Walsh’s efforts to push this legislation through.
Republicans have continuously lauded each bill as protective for children.
“We’re not going to have any kind of quack doctor coming into this state and start doing double mastectomies on children who are suffering from body dysphoria,” House Majority Leader William Lamberth (R-Portland) said.
The drag bill could head to the Senate as early as next week, while the timeline for the children’s transgender ban waiting for the governor’s signature is unknown.