sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

May 11, 2005

oklahoma equates hustler and heather has two mommies?
posted by soe 7:30 pm

In the category of “Oh, for goodness sake!” comes this news out of Oklahoma: The State House has passed a resolution, HR1039 INT, trying to force libraries to restrict access to material “deemed harmful and inappropriate” or “arguably prurient” to adult-only access and distribution sections. And by this, they mean materials featuring gay people.

The entire text of the bill is below:

A Resolution memorializing Oklahoma libraries to confine books with subject matter inappropriate for children to adult-only sections; and directing distribution.

WHEREAS, the development of children requires certain guidance and protection by adults to ensure that their maturation is timely and results in a greater degree of personal responsibility and respect for their role in society; and
WHEREAS, such development should be at the discretion of a child’s parents free from interference from the distribution of inappropriate publicly cataloged materials; and
WHEREAS, libraries should remain public establishments free of exposure to children by material that may be deemed harmful and inappropriate; and
WHEREAS, materials concerning human sexuality and those of an arguably prurient nature are such that should not be readily available for consumption by children; nor should the distribution of such materials to children be supported by public finance; and
WHEREAS, a recent survey shows that 88% of Oklahomans favor restricting the availability of homosexually themed books and over 50% of those favor withholding funds from libraries that fail to do so; and
WHEREAS, Oklahomans approved by over 75% vote a State Constitutional amendment restricting marriage to that between one man and one woman and thus rendered materials promoting homosexual marriage inconsistent with current law.
THAT the Oklahoma House of Representatives memorializes Oklahoma libraries to confine homosexually themed books and other age-inappropriate material to areas exclusively for adult access and distribution.
THAT a copy of this Resolution be distributed to the American Library Association; the Oklahoma Library Association; the Mayor of Oklahoma City, Mick Cornett; the Oklahoma City Council; and the Metropolitan Library Commission.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I can’t imagine that Oklahoma libraries (or, for that matter, libraries pretty much anywhere) are stocking terribly many children’s books that describe actual sexual acts — of any orientation. So what we’re dealing with are references to gay people living in everyday life kind of situations — parenting, running businesses, grocery shopping. Yeah, I’d definitely like to protect children from seeing those kinds of “harmful” and “prurient” scenes.

Or, we’re dealing with books like, “How It Feels to Have a Gay or Lesbian Parent: A Book by Kids for Kids of All Ages,” the only book I found when I searched for “gay” in Powell’s online children’s section. Yes, I would hate it if a young adult (the reading level would preclude it appearing in the young children’s section) stumbled across that book. I mean, it might actually teach them coping skills or tolerance.

As this is only a House Resolution, it does not carry the impact of law. But it sets a negative precedent that is frustrating to those who believe in the First Amendment, freedom of information, education, or equality.

Category: books,gay rights. There is/are 2 Comments.

Sam adds additional thoughts here.

Pingback by forepac > weblog » Government-sanctioned hatred and discrimination 05.12.05 @ 12:15 pm

Aside from the fact that this resolution reeks of the worst kind of discrimination and hate, I’m bugged by anyone making laws that allow someone to label works of art “prurient” or “harmful.” Aren’t there laws protecting freedom of speech in this country? I’ll also bet that Oklahoma is home to quite a few segments of the Klan, whose works may still be on those library shelves.

(crosses Oklahoma off the list of possible honeymoon destinations)

Comment by forepac 05.12.05 @ 12:31 pm