Anti-gay editorial unsettling

An Anonymous Patron sends" a letter to the editor of the Vance County (SC) Daily Dispatch taking issue with the paper's 'unsettling' response to the removal of the book King and King from an elementary school library, because it featured two men in a relationship."

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Anti-Gay Editorial

The writer uses terms such as good and bad in regard to the book that was pulled. There has yet to be a definitive acceptance of gay life style as a norm. The issue is still being debated. It seem incongruous to criticize people who object to something that has never been openly acceptable in society before the debate has reached resolution. People come from many backgrounds in which they are rooted to view gay life style as unacceptable. Our free speech right allows for discussion, resolution and acceptance. This is what happened with civil rights. Until that time the issue is open and it is unfair to uses words like good and bad. What about the sensitvity of other members of society? That is freedom as well.

Re:Anti-Gay Editorial

There has yet to be a definitive acceptance of gay life style as a norm.

Well, I'd put it that there has be an acceptance of homosexuals as normal. Certainly people need to understand that the lifestyles of others does not have any impact on theirs. I've known about homosexuality since adolescence, the knowledge has never stopped me from lusting after women.

Re:Anti-Gay Editorial

What is the "gay lifestyle"? Do gays all have this mysterious incredible difference to how they lead their lives above and beyond their sexual orientation? Is there a "straight lifestyle"?*sigh*

Straight Lifestyle Re:Anti-Gay Editorial

There are a lot of different 'lifestyles' but if there is a majority, overall, ideal, 'straight lifestyle' its: one young man and one young woman get married, create a home, have children, raise them supplying the benefits of having both a mother and father and once the children are grown the children themselves repeat the cycle.

Simplistic and certainly there are plenty of cases offering a very warped twist on this but nonetheless its the *goal*. And a 'gay lifestyle' is the antithesis of this.

Gays are free to live their lifestyle as they choose, but it is not equal to a straight lifestyle and in fact detracts from the strengths of what a family should be.

Public Schools

Public schools should not be teaching small children (grades K-4) about human sexual reproduction. It is not the job of the schools to do this at this particular age. My local public school district (in an urban area) doesn't teach sexual reproduction until middle-school.

Obviously this book isn't a how-to-manual about sex; however, it appears to me that the central theme of the book is that the main characters are gay and the end up getting married. It isn't about two princes (who happen to be gay) who go around slaying dragons and saving people. It is agitprop designed for 6 year olds.

I'm not against teach sex education in public schools; however, it must be at an appropriate time. Methinks 6 years old is a bit too young and it seems like a lot of public schools agree with me on that one. With that said, this books doesn't even appear to be part of the sex education circulumn. It is book that someone added to the collection for a specific reason.

IMHO, it is using 6 year olds as pawns in the culture war.

Re:Straight Lifestyle Re:Anti-Gay Editorial

That is so funny. I guess that explains the high rate of single parenting. The nuclear family is as strong as ever! You've got to be joking. Also, how can you call yourself a professional who uphold ALA's code of ethics and you are still on the wrong side of this civil rights issue. You sound like one of those bigots who were afraid to let African Americans move into their neighborhoods. You really need a reality check, friend.

Aren't Gays Human?

When are people going to wake up to this civil rights issue? As professional librarians we are sworn to uphold the ALA code of ethics. Unpopular or not, there is only one side to this arguement from a librarian's standpoint: supporting equal rights for all.

Black Does Not Equal Gay

Its not a civil rights issue. And there are those in the black community who do not appreciate the comparison.

    As for the nuclear family, its weaker then ever because of single parenting and will be weaker still if gay marriage becomes the norm.

Re:Aren't Gays Human?

Sworn to uphold the ALA Code of Ethics.

What are you talking about? Hogwash. All librarians are not members of ALA, nor is swearing to the ALA Code of Ethics a condition of my employment. Is someone/something requiring oaths to be called a professional librarian.

It *is* a civil rights issue.

As a straight man, you have more civil rights than I do.

I also disagree with your statement about family. Good parents are good parents regardless of their gender. The nuclear family has its problems as well. Just because a family consists of a man, a woman, and their child/children does not mean that this family is any healthier than a single-parent or gay-parent family.

Re:It *is* a civil rights issue.

No I don't. No one is stopping you from getting married, plenty of churchs out there will do it for you. But the benefits your asking for and might not be getting are mainly financial and are provided in part by the business you may work for. They should not have to supplement a lifestyle they don't approve of.

Children need a loving mother and a loving father, anything less goes against the child's best interest. Its amazing this argument needs to be made. Its like eating food and drinking water to live. Its a given.

Re:Public Schools

Have you read this book? I admittedly have not.

However here is the synopsis from BN.com

Join newlyweds King Lee and King Bertie on their journey into the noisy jungle. The kings are greeted by wild animal families, but the royal travelers suspect that something more significant awaits them in the trees. King & King soon discover that there's no adventure more wonderful than starting a family of their own.

It is recommended for ages 6-9. I don't see anything about sexual reproduction mentioned in this book description. This has nothing to do with sex education, it seems it is about families and how families don't all have to look the same. I think that would be very comforting to a child who finds him/herself in a non-traditional (and that doesn't automatically imply gay couple) family.

Re:It *is* a civil rights issue.

I don't have any opinion on this particular issue of gay marriage; however, I believe there is a lot of data that refutes your statement regarding single-parent families being just as healthy as two-parent families. Statistically, single parent families tend to be poorer. In addition, the children of single-parent families are more likely to be involved with juvenile delinquency and have higher rates of teen pregnancy than two-parent household children. In addition, the children in two-parent households tend to have better cognitive and emotional development and their school achievement is higher than those children in single-parent households.

That doesn't make them bad people (unless they are committing crimes); however, they are hugely disadvantaged because of single-parnet household status.

Are there exceptions to this rule, sure but they are exceptions and certainly not the norm.

I got this information from a National Conference of State Legislators Report on Welfare Reform. I've dealt with the NCSL before and they are pretty objective.

Re:Aren't Gays Human?

Well, I don't know what sort of librarian you are if you aren't acreditted by the ALA. Do you work in a comic book store?

It *is* a civil rights issue.

Your ideology is so Dark Ages! It's 2004! This is the next big civil rights issue! Support all human rights! Equal rights should be for all!

ALA Accreditation

Librarians aren't accredited by the ALA, library schools are. And I didn't have to swear an oath to get into, or graduate from, my ALA-accredited library school

Re:ALA Accreditation

I think what we're all talking about hear is Ethics. Don't you gay-haters have any?

Re:Public Schools

It is true, all families do not look the same. However there are families that don't look the same, adopted children, interracial, divorced parents, etc. It is very important to know of other types of families. Gay life is different. It is the first time in history that there is a seal of approval for raising children by two of the same gender who call themselves a variation of husband and wife. Why was there no discussion of polygamy? In fact polygamy was an accepatble practice and still is in many cultures. Suppose some other living arrangement is called a family to we protect that as well. It seems strange that there is a push to accept gay lifesytle and no other variations of family. Have all the hangups of children in the groups I have mentioned been resolved?

I repeat the issue is unresolved. It is unfair to push it to acceptance.

Re:Aren't Gays Human?

Actually, I did attend an ALA acreditted library school. While there, I didn't swear to any oath, nor was I required to swear to any oath. I am not a member of the ALA, nor will I ever be a member of that political organization. I am a member of a law librarians association.

Although sometimes I feel as if I'd make more money in a comic book shop, I work in an academic law library.

Re:Public Schools

But where are you Ethics? Don't you support equal rights? Or are you longing for the good ole' days of the South?

Re:Straight Lifestyle Re:Anti-Gay Editorial

Please. ALA's code of ethics may speak for you, but not me. Or many other librarians. And yes I still consider myself a professional.

My question. From one "bigoted" position to another, how do you feel about the "civil rights" of our polygamist Mormon friends?

Re:Straight Lifestyle Re:Anti-Gay Editorial

I am a ploygamist Mormon. I find your tone insulting.

Re:It *is* a civil rights issue.

I meant more that having two parents does not mean that the family is emotionally or physically healthy. There is a lot of abuse that happens in the traditional nuclear family as well.

Re:It *is* a civil rights issue.

>>As a straight man, you have more civil rights than I do

Eh??? Care to name one?

Re:Aren't Gays Human?

I still think this is a big ethical dilema! Support equal rights for all people. That's what we must do.

Re:Straight Lifestyle Re:Anti-Gay Editorial

Really?

What do you infer from my "tone" as insulting?

Re:It *is* a civil rights issue.

You can be legally married to the one you love in the eyes of the government, with all of the civil rights afforded to you. Some friends of mine who happen to be two women have to fill out paperwork several inches thick in order to have anything near what you recieve in a five minute ceremony at City Hall.

Not related to the marriage issue, one big thing that stands out to me is employment rights. Unless a municipality has a fairness ordinance, I can be fired without any recourse simply because I'm gay, regardless of my ability to do my job. No one would dare fire any other minority without facing legal reprocussions, but it's okay to can the queers in most places. That kind of job insecurity isn't a concern to straight people.

Re:ALA Accreditation

I beg your pardon?

I have yet to say anything in this conversation that would allow you to infer how I feel about gays, or about the presence of this book in any particular library. I have pointed out a factual error by another author: the ALA does not now, and never has, "accredited" librarians.

Just before posting my brief note, I was considering ignoring the gay rights/lifestyle threads that have been cropping up here regularly over the last little while (while continuing to appreciate the news stories themselves), because the conversations regularly degenerate into flame wars between "the usual suspects".

I now wish I'd done it before I'd posted my comment. But I now see that it most definitely the right thing to do.

Re:Public Schools

I broached polygamy in this thread but apparently insulted a "ploygamist"(sic).

I agree. Polygamy is on the table if we are discussing gay marriage.

Re:It *is* a civil rights issue, Yes!.

I am with you 100% Anna. You are the only one talking any sense around here! Keep up the good work.

Re:It *is* a civil rights issue.

I meant more that having two parents does not mean that the family is emotionally or physically healthy. There is a lot of abuse that happens in the traditional nuclear family as well.

Statistically, you are incorrect. Children from two-parent households TEND to be healthier (physically, emotionally, financially, etc...) than children from single-parent families. That is not an opinion, that is a fact. Are there exceptions? Absolutely, but these are exceptions and not the norm. Is there abuse in two-parent families? Without question; however, the rate of abuse is higher in single-parent households.

Does that make the children of single-parent household bad people? No, but the deck is currently stacked against the children of single-parent households.

Regarding children in two-parent same-sex families, I haven't a clue. The things I've read don't address that issue. I also don't have an opinion about it.

Re:It *is* a civil rights issue.

>>Unless a municipality has a fairness ordinance, I can be fired without any recourse simply because I'm gay, regardless of my ability to do my job.

Untrue. See EEOC.

Hey People

I enjoy a good mud-fight as much as anyone else and this one is a lively one; however, please read post's before you respond. Read them carefully. I respond to posts by the words I read in the post. I don't try and glean some sort of intent from anything but the words in the post. If you want to call me names, call me names but base it on what I wrote (not what you think I meant). Thanks.

Isn't this about Censoring a Library Book?

Why should this one dissenting opinion of one family be given so much weight in this issue? Don't all families have the right to be represented in our libraries? Don't we (all of us) as people have value? What sort of ethics are being used here?

Re:Isn't this about Censoring a Library Book?

I view this as an elementary school library issue and not a public library issue. I think the two are different.

Do I think this book should be in a public library? Yeah, I don't have a problem with it.

Do I think this book should be in an elementary school library? Maybe not. I think honest reasonable people can differ about this.

Re:Public Schools

I looked this book up on First Search. Here are the LC Subject Headings:

Kings, queens, rulers, etc. -- Fiction.

Princes -- Fiction.

Homosexuality -- Fiction.

The last one indicates to me that this book's central theme is the homosexuality of the two characters.

I don't think most children should be institutionally exposed to the very complex issue of homosexuality at such a young age in the setting of a elementary school library. If individuals want to teach their children about this at home, fine. I don't even have a problem with this title in the public library. I have a problem with it in an elementary school library.

Re:Isn't this about Censoring a Library Book?

This is presupposing that there are no other parents concerned about the issue. The only way that people know about library holdings is usually by what is charged out. In this case only one came forward, perhaps it is because most people trust the discretion of the librarian. I don't think we want wholesale involvement in collection development because we are also the professionals. However, professionals should be repsonsible to assess the public they serve and serve them accordingly. Why is it that this has become a censorship issue when it is not? No one is stopping the publishing or distribution of these materials only showing discretion in purchasing for the public served. Should a library that serves children have copies of magazines such as Maxim or Playboy available to them or videos of the same ilk or should they be age aporpriate and non agenda driven.

Re:It *is* a civil rights issue.

This is a directive from the OPM that allows a gay employee who has been fired on the basis of sexual orientation to file a complaint with "the Office of Special Counsel, the Merit Systems Protection Board, and/or through appropriate grievance procedures, depending on the circumstances." However, this does not apply to non-Federal employees.

There is an executive order that defines the Federal Government's policy for its employees to "include sexual orientation as a prohibited basis of discrimination." However, this does not apply to non-Federal employees.

I am pleased to see that there are a number of states that now have laws that prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation. However, there is no federal law, so there are still many places in this country where one can be fired for being gay.

Re:Public Schools

Are you a cataloger? If homosexuality is the book's central theme, then it would be the first subject heading listed, not the third.

Re:Aren't Gays Human?

Unpopular or not, there is only one side to this arguement from a librarian's standpoint: supporting equal rights for all.

Should professional librarians, the ALA, etc. take a stand in the abortion issue as librarians? The capital punishment issue? Those are civil rights issues. Those are human rights issues. What does this have to do with librarianship?

Re:Public Schools

Good point. Although I don't think it detracts form my main point. I also got this from First Search:

When the queen insists that the prince get married and take over as king, the search for a suitable mate does not turn out as expected.

Reality Check

There are a lot of different 'lifestyles' but if there is a majority, overall, ideal, 'straight lifestyle' its: one young man and one young woman get married, create a home, have children, raise them supplying the benefits of having both a mother and father and once the children are grown the children themselves repeat the cycle.

Gee, that's funny - I'm straight, yet I'm Childfree. The government won't stop me from getting married. And gays can, and do, make excellent parents. Go figure.

Re:Aren't Gays Human?

I completely agree. Why does everything become politicized? We are information professionals. People look to us to help them locate materials that they need for their formal and informal education. True, we are also citizens with opinions and that is our right as Americans. We can speak out if we feel that there has been injustice. There is no reason why there has to be an opinion from a professional organization who is not primarily concerned with that issue in their work. We are not civil rights attorneys, or gay rights advocates or shouldn't be in our professional roles. That does not preclude having our own opinion and fighting for it. The library is a repository of information not a debate forum. We wouldn't want our doctor to push his personal opinions, or the bank teller, or the lawyer, etc. We should also not expect that from librarians in their professional capacity.

Re:Reality Check

A single parent can be a good parent, but thats not the ideal. There is no law preventing them from being parents or gays from being parents. We should not, however, be promoting single parenting in our laws and we shouldn't be promoting gay parenting in our laws. Its not the ideal.

    As for childless couples, if you want to take away any financial benefits and reserve it strictly for men and women with children thats fine by me. Just like gays you are free to go to a church that will perform the ceremony without going through the state.
     

Re:Reality Check

Back to the issue of books for children about gay couples, you say it's not ideal, like single parenting, (which I have to say we have different ideas of ideal) but there are lots of childrens books about single parents as well as children raised by aunts, grandparents and others. Is that promoting it? I don't get why it's not okay to have a book about any particular thing, having information on a subject doesn't equal promotion.

Re:It *is* a civil rights issue.

Statistically, children from two parent households are most likely to be sexually abused.Also the vast majority of pedophiles are straight men. So.... statistically, who would you want around your children?

Re:Reality Check

It would in an elementary school library where children are browsing through books without a parent's supervision.

The majority of the public does not want gay marriage and do not want the idea that its okay pushed on their kids. It would be like stocking the children's shelves with books promoting underage drinking, drug use, and sex.

Re:It *is* a civil rights issue.

Do you have a source for both of those points?

Oh, that old chestnut?

The polygamy comparison is disingenuous at best. The polygamy question may bear discussion, but it has nothing to do with the question at hand. Marriage is a legal status that enfranchises a one-on-one, love-based relationship, but is discriminatory with regard to the gender of the participants. Systematic gender discrimination is a civil rights issue, and it is illegal.

Re:Oh, that old chestnut?

OK, how about incest between two adult siblings? Let's say they are both fully competent consenting adults.

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