A Federal judge has ruled a Tennessee law aimed at preventing child sex trafficking violates the First Amendment, issuing a restraining order which prevents the state from enforcing the new law.
The law, which passed the Tennessee State Legislature in 2012, was challenged by Backpage.com. Backpage is an online classifieds website similar to Craigslist. However, unlike Craigslist, Backpage has an advertising section for escort services, strippers and other adult services. Craigslist removed their “Adult Services” classified section in September 2010.
In June 2012, Backpage filed suit against Tennessee Attorney General Robert Cooper, along with 31 district attorneys generals across the state. The lawsuit contends that the Tennessee law violates freedom of speech and interstate commerce laws, saying:
“Tennessee Public Charter 1075 would have a chilling effect on free speech online and that it’s unconstitutional, violating the Communication Decency Act of 1996, the First and 14th amendments, and the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution.”