Anti-gay editorial unsettling

Topic: 

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."

Comments

I don't see how a gay couple living together is the antithesis of a straight couple. Their relationship has absolutely nothing to do with someone else's relationship. Gay couples getting married does not, in any way, inhibit a straight couple from getting married and having children. How could it? The decision to get married or to have children is made at an individual level, not at a societal level. I had children because I wanted them, not because I thought it would be good for society. Conversely, knowing gay couples did not make me second guess or delay that decision.

Robert

Statistically, children from two parent households are most likely to be sexually abused.

I've seen data that says otherwise. Take a look at this: Robin Fretwell Wilson, "Children at Risk: The Sexual Exploitation of Female Children After Divorce," 86 Cornell Law Review 251 (2001).

Here is an excerpt: Similarly, a review of forty-two publications  observed that "the majority of children who were sexually abused ... appeared to have come from single[-parent] families. I tend to believe this more than your statement. I should say that this article focuses mainly on girls; however, the article does discuss both girls and boys. I'd also suspect that girls are the biggest victims of sex abuse.

I would agree with your statement about pedophile being mainly men, but I'm not sure what that has to do with single-parent households and two-parent households.

Also irrelevant to the gender discrimination question.
You gonna contradict anything I said or just dig up sorry straw men?

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

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.

Do you have a source for both of those points?

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.

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?

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.

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.
     

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.

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.

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.

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?

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

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.

What??????

In the post above I asked if people had a source for the points they were making and I get marked as "offtopic". What kind of crap is that? You can mark this "offtopic" also.

Really? A book showing the existance of gays is equal to promoting drinking and drug use? Wow, that's some interesting logic.Also you apparently don't live in my neighborhood where gays are not the pariahs they apparently are in yours. People in my neighborhood treat gays like people... just people, not good people not bad people, just people, who do exist, so why can't there be a book about them?It goes back to the same old thing, if you don't like it, don't check it out. Tell your kids they can't check it out. Don't stop my child though, they aren't yours to monitor.

I think the question no one looked at is 'arent' gays human?' libraries try to have material representing a variety of views, gays pay taxes and live in communities, why must they be invisible? Why do some insist that they have the right, because of their beliefs, to deny some a voice, and say, to be seen and acknowledged, no one is asking for everyone to approve, just not ignore.that said, I can only see an argument for the removal of this book from a school library, because of in loco paretis, but I still think it's just an argument, not a given, depends on the community. Public library, no argument.

I agree entirely with the author of "Anti-Gay Editorial Unsettling" when he writes,
"When a school pulls a book from its shelves simply because its main characters are homosexual, the school sends a message to children that homosexuality is bad. Granted, many of us are perfectly content for the schools to send that message. But wouldn't a message of tolerance and acceptance of people's differences be more productive and more in line with the ideals of American public education?

When we tell small children that homosexuality is wrong, we do them and our society a disservice. Reading "King and King" isn't going to make little straight youth become gay any more than hiding it from them is going to make gays straight. But reading it might make straight kids more accepting of their neighbors who happen to be gay. And don't we want our kids to be open-minded, to be able to accept others as they are even if they're different?"

Unfortunatley we have a government that doesn't support this view. I received the following e-mail "Letter to Bush", which is obviously satire, but it's scary that some might not recognize it as such...

"Dear President Bush:
Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God's Law. I have learned a great deal from you, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination... End of debate.
I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some other elements of God's Laws and how to follow them...
1. Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and female,provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can't I own Canadians?
2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus >21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?
3. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness. (Lev.15:19-24) The problem is how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.
4. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord (Lev.1:9). The problem is, my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?
5. I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should I ask the police to do it?
6. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination (Lev. 11:10), is it a lesser abomination than homosexuality. We don't agree. Can you settle this? Are there 'degrees' of abomination?
7. Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle-room here?
8. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev 19:27. How should they die?
9. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean. But may I still play football if I wear gloves?
10. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev. 19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to >curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? (Lev. 24:10-16). Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family affair, as we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)

I know you have studied these things extensively and thus enjoy considerable expertise in such matters, so I am confident you can help.

Thank you again for reminding us that God's word is eternal and unchanging."

Scary, huh?

Well, your reply is pretty much what I expected from you so I'm not at all disappointed. You started of by quoting me out of context for one thing. Remember when you posted a comment sniveling about how I'd done that to you? Well, you did do that here because you deleted significant, qualifying information from what I had written to twist my words into something misrepresentative. The portion of your words that I quoted in my journal entry expressed a complete idea that could be separated from the second sentence in the paragraph without altering the context of the extracted words.

Yes, I know the gay-marriage ruling establishes precedent, I had that in mind in when I wrote what I wrote. Now, compare Tinker v: Des Moines with Hazelwood and ask yourself why the Supreme Court did not throw out Hazelwood on the basis of Tinker.

This is a slippery slope argument. Just because A, it does not necessarily follow that B. While the slippery slope is a real force in the physical world, slippery slope arguments tend to be erroneous.

Yeah, but the Lawrence decision (last year's US Supreme Court decision dealing with sodomy) does open the door to this type of interpretation. The Mass. Supreme Judicial Court did cite Lawrence in its Goodrich decision (the gay marriage opinion). So, I wouldn't just pooh-pooh the slippery slop argument.

Here is the Mass. Supreme Judicial Court in Goodrich citing the US Supreme Court from the Lawrence case:
  There, the Court affirmed that the core concept of common human dignity protected by the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution precludes government intrusion into the deeply personal realms of consensual adult expressions of intimacy and one's choice of an intimate partner.

This is pretty broad language and it isn't just limited to same-sex. Now, this doesn't end it because their still has to be some analysis regarding the state's interest in regulating marriage. But that is the whole point of the Goodrich case.

I think some smart lawyers are going to make these arguments regarding bigamy, polygamy and incest criminal laws and they are probably go to be successful.

The horse situation is probably the worst case scenario and I think your analysis is correct; however, I think the bigamy, poligamy and especially consenting adult siblings (incest) is something that will legitimately pop up.

>>This is a slippery slope argument. Just because A, it does not necessarily follow that B.

Yes. Willpie has already apprised me of the "slippery slope". However I am speaking about law. I'll leave the cut and paste philosophy for the two of you.

Law is based on precedent. At least in the US. Any change to the legal concept of marriage, the union of a man and woman, would most certainly invite other "du jour" relationships.

Why do you suppose pro-choice activists, as they prefer to call themselves, are so adamantly opposed to legislation that would prohibit the killing of a baby in the last trimester?
This procedure would not outlaw abortion. Because they, the pro-choicers, fear this precedent will ultimately lead to a ban an abortion completely. Perhaps you and Willpie could forward the NOW folks your "slippery slope" explanation and see if this sets their minds to rest?

No different with the gun crowd with gun registration, locks, background checks, eyeball scanning, etc.. It is about precedent Fang. To hell with the slippery slope. You are dealing with lawyers, not philosophers. . Strike down marriage as we know it and we will be dealing with polygamists.

Frankly I'm surprised by the tack you take in this argument. Fine if you believe gay folks should marry for ethical, moral reasons. Trying to apply this "slippery slope" business is an awkward defense at best when discussing the role of judicial precedent in English Common Law, of which our American system is based. I expected better here Fang.

Any change to the institution of marriage creates precedent. One-on-one, same-sex today, becomes one-on-two, three, polygamy, and any other relationship du jour.

This is a slippery slope argument. Just because A, it does not necessarily follow that B. While the slippery slope is a real force in the physical world, slippery slope arguments tend to be erroneous.

I'm going to assume that your relationship du jour comment is an oblique allusion to allowing zoophiliac relationships; an assumption I make because I have seen that argument presented. Fine. Lets assume that you, as Mark Matthews did, want to marry your horse. A legally binding union before secular law requires both partners to sign numerous documents. How is your horse going to sign the marriage certificate?

Comments tend to be marked negatively when the points made are irrefutable. It's the oldest ploy in the book; if you can't refute it, discredit it.

>>This is getting silly.

Agreed.

Your argument is with the 14th amendment, not me.

This is getting silly. The extension of marital partnership rights to some couples who want them, but not to others for the sole reason of their genders is not equal application of the laws. You, too, are free to marry someone you don't want to marry, but you're not legally compelled to do so in order to have the legal rights and privileges of marriage.

For the same reason I, and possibly you, don't believe in polygamy.

. . . which isn't an answer at all.

>>If your capacity to choose your own spouse is impeded by your gender, then equal protection is indeed violated.

Equal protection says no such thing. The equal protection clause is not intended to provide equality among individuals or classes but only "equal application" of the laws. Gays folks are free to marry.

>>Really, what do you care who anyone else is allowed to marry?

For the same reason I, and possibly you, don't believe in polygamy.

Semantics. My concession that "love-based" is an awkward, unnecessary descriptor of a legal status in no way invalidates the voluntary nature of marriage. If your capacity to choose your own spouse is impeded by your gender, then equal protection is indeed violated.

As a separate question (a curiousity, really; I mean, let's face it, neither of us is going to change the other's mind, so we might as well call this wank-fest what it is), what's it to you? Really, what do you care who anyone else is allowed to marry?

>>The fact remains that monogamous marriage is a legal status that exists in this country and that discriminates along gender lines.

I disagree. Gays folks are free to marry. You have just conceded that "love-based" was unnecessary.

There is no violation of equal protection here Willpie.

In fairness, my inclusion of "love-based" was unnecessary (I do have a tendency to get florid); it is as irrelevent as anything you have said.

That doesn't make your slippery slope argument any less a logical fallacy.

The fact remains that monogamous marriage is a legal status that exists in this country and that discriminates along gender lines. There is plenty of legal precedent about gender discrimination.

Your definition of marriage is exactly what it is, your definition. You neglected the bit about "opposite sex". Love-based is certainly desirable, but has nothing to do with the defintion as well. (See American Heritage, Merriam-Webster et al.)

I would suggest that your subtle tweaking of the above definition is disingenuous, not my introduction of polygamy.

Here's the rub. Any change to the institution of marriage creates precedent. One-on-one, same-sex today, becomes one-on-two, three, polygamy, and any other relationship du jour.

We are dealing with law. Law evolves from precedent. Most Americans don't want any precedent set that modifies marriage.

But it is enough of the theme to get a subject heading. So homosexuality is not some mere side point of the book.

I believe the people who want the book removed are the ones who politicized this issue. It is a children's book chosen by the librarian to have in her/his children's section, none of us know that community or collection as well as that librarian but everyone here has jumped in with their own idea of what is or is not appropriate for that library.
  The person who wants the book removed is the one with the obvious agenda. The librarian isn't reading it aloud to kids or requiring everyone read it, it is just one more element of what I assume is a collection of different books. The librarian may or may not have gone out looking to find a book depicting this issue, may or may not have had a request or seen a need for some discussion or the potential for interest in this book. We just don't know why she chose it, we only know that someone objected and everyone has an opinion about it.

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.

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.

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.

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

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!

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?

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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