Oregon ACLU Joins Booksellers in Condemning Sexual Materials Law

Submitted by birdie on Mon, 04/28/2008 - 18:49

The American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon has joined booksellers and librarians in the state to challenge a state law restricting the sale or provision of sexually explicit material to children, saying it could affect constitutionally protected material.

The ACLU says the law approved by the 2007 Legislature is vague and could result in parents being charged for providing educational books to their children - or even an older child who gives material to a younger sibling.

As an example, the ACLU cited the 1975 novel "Forever" by Judy Blume, a frequent target of censors because it deals with teenage sexuality. "A 17-year-old girl who lends her 13-year-old sister a copy of the book and tells her to 'read the good parts' could be arrested and prosecuted," said Dave Fidanque, ACLU executive director for Oregon.

"For booksellers, the new law is vague and difficult to apply," Michael Powell, owner of Powell's Books, said in a news release. "It says a 13-year-old can legally buy these books, but it's a crime to sell them to a 12-year-old. How do I 'card' a 12-year old?"

The law was passed by the 2007 Legislature and signed by Gov. Ted Kulongoski. Story from kcby CBS as well as oregonlive.