Thursday, December 02, 2004

Down Birmingham Way

Birmingham News:

MONTGOMERY - An Alabama lawmaker who sought to ban gay marriages now wants to ban novels with gay characters from public libraries, including university libraries.

A bill by Rep. Gerald Allen, R-Cottondale, would prohibit the use of public funds for "the purchase of textbooks or library materials that recognize or promote homosexuality as an acceptable lifestyle." Allen said he filed the bill to protect children from the "homosexual agenda."

[...]

Allen said that if his bill passes, novels with gay protagonists and college textbooks that suggest homosexuality is natural would have to be removed from library shelves and destroyed.

"I guess we dig a big hole and dump them in and bury them," he said.

A spokesman for the Montgomery-based Southern Poverty Law Center called the bill censorship.

"It sounds like Nazi book burning to me," said SPLC spokesman Mark Potok.

[...]

If the bill became law, public school textbooks could not present homosexuality as a genetic trait and public libraries couldn't offer books with gay or bisexual characters.

When asked about Tennessee Williams' southern classic "Cat On A Hot Tin Roof," Allen said the play probably couldn't be performed by university theater groups.

Allen said no state funds should be used to pay for materials that foster homosexuality. He said that would include nonfiction books that suggest homosexuality is acceptable and fiction novels with gay characters. While that would ban books like "Heather has Two Mommies," it could also include classic and popular novels with gay characters such as "The Color Purple," "The Picture of Dorian Gray" and "Brideshead Revisted."

It starts with ripping out a page here and a page there and then, before long, we're digging holes and burrying all the books, or just torching them where they sit on the shelves. This is worse than the Nazis because at least the Nazis just built bonfires and shoved the books in. With a Nazi, you know where you stand and have something to swing against. But with a Republican, they like to pretend it's some moral crusade for Baby Jesus and all the little cherubim at home and paint the opposition as evil sodomists and cock suckers for Satan. They learned their lessons and are trying to legislate hate and degredation instead of just stomping on our faces with jackboots.

The CBLDF is fighting this and, as Neil Gaiman sugests, becoming a member is an acceptable Christmas Gift for that bibliophile or librarian in your life.

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