The ordinance in Murfreesboro was essentially a covert ban on LGBTQ+ existence. 
Credit: Saul Loeb / AFP / Getty 

Republican lawmakers in the US are leaning into outdated definitions of obscenity to outlaw drag and ban books too.

For five months this year, homosexuality was prohibited in a Tennessee college town.

In June, the city council of Murfreesboro enacted an ordinance outlawing “indecent exposure, public indecency, lewd behavior, nudity or sexual conduct”. The rule did not explicitly mention homosexuality, but LGBTQ+ people in the town quickly realized that the ordinance references 21-72 of the city code, which categorizes homosexuality as an act of indecent sexual conduct.

The ordinance was essentially a covert ban on LGBTQ+ existence.

Erin Reed, one of the first and only national journalists to cover the ordinance earlier this year, noted that Murfreesboro isn’t “the only community that has these old archaic bits of code that target homosexuality”.

Earlier this month, following a legal challenge from the ACLU of Tennessee, the government of Murfreesboro removed “homosexuality” from the list of acts defined as “public indecency” by […]

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