Gavin Newsom Misrepresents Tennessee’s Indecent Exposure Ordinance

In a recent social media post, California Gov. Gavin Newsom mischaracterized a Tennessee city ordinance. Newsom claimed that the ordinance had “banned being gay in public,” but this assertion appears to be a distortion of the facts.

The ordinance in question was passed by the Murfreesboro City Council in June and later amended in October. It aimed to address indecent exposure, lewd behavior and nudity in the presence of minors. Initially, the code included homoeroticism in its definition of inappropriate sexual conduct.

However, this controversial language was removed during the October amendment, making it clear that the ordinance’s focus was not on banning queerness but rather on safeguarding public decency and protecting minors.

After Tennessee Republican Gov. Bill Lee signed the new law that restricts drag shows in the state, Newsom took to Twitter to express his disapproval, stating, “Tennessee has the 8th highest murder rate in the nation. It ranks 44th among states for health outcomes. And this is what the Governor is focused on.”

He linked to an Associated Press article reporting the signing of the restrictions measure, making Tennessee the first state in the nation to enact such legislation.

The new law signed by Lee prohibits “adult cabaret” performances on public property or in places where children might be present, making it a criminal offense. While this law has generated criticism from some, it does not target any specific group based on sensual orientation but rather seeks to regulate public performances in the presence of minors.

The original ordinance, passed in June, explicitly stated its purpose: “This ordinance shall be implemented and interpreted to promote public decency and maintain a family-friendly environment in public places and protect against potential harm to minors from public expressions that appeal to prurient interests and are patently offensive to prevailing standards in the adult community as a whole with respect to what is suitable material for minors.”

Newsom’s track record of making controversial statements has not gone unnoticed. In April 2023, he claimed that “books are banned” and “speech is limited” at New College in Florida.

“Last week, I went to New College in Florida – ground zero for what the [Republicans] are trying to do to education in this country. Take a moment to watch this. Books are banned. Speech is limited. Faculty are scared. Students are bullied. This is just a small dose of what’s to come,” he stated.

However, when Fox News Digital investigated these allegations and asked for a list of banned books at the institution, Newsom’s office failed to provide any evidence to support his claims.