CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The American Civil Liberties Union of West Virginia is urging the Upshur County Public Library Board of Directors to rescind its ban on the book “Prince & Knight,” which has been removed from shelves because it depicts a romantic relationship between two men.
Banning the book or removing it from the children’s section simply because of its LGBTQ+ content is a violation of the First Amendment rights of library patrons, ACLU-WV Legal Director Loree Stark said in a letter to the board.
The ACLU’s letter cites a number of US Supreme Court and other federal court cases that have found libraries may not remove books simply because of the viewpoint expressed.
“Public libraries are invaluable resources in our local communities and they exist in part to provide individuals and families access to a diversity of ideas and information,” Stark said. “Banning a book on the grounds that it includes LGBTQ+ content is not only antithetical to this mission, it is patently unconstitutional.”
Andrew Schneider, Executive Director of LGBTQ+ civil rights organization Fairness West Virginia, said the organization is disappointed the library would even consider removing such a harmless book.
“It’s important for LGBTQ families to see themselves represented in literature, and ‘Prince & Knight’ offers a powerful and important story that the children of Upshur County should be able to freely access,” Schneider said. “Books do not indoctrinate someone to change their sexuality. I grew up reading plenty of books about men and women falling in love and yet here I am – still a gay man.”
ACLU-WV will continue to monitor the situation and will consider next steps depending on the outcome of today’s meeting of the board.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE NOV. 20, 2019 | Contact Billy Wolfe 304.543.0858 | www.acluwv.org