Alabama state representative Gerald Allen, who has in the past pushed for a state ban on same-sex marriage, now says he wants to ban all books in public libraries and schools with any gay content, no matter how small. The proposed law would prohibit all books with gay characters and any school textbooks that suggest homosexuality is OK.
"It's censorship at its worst, and it also keeps Alabama at the top of the list as a laughingstock in the United States," Donna Schremser, director of the Huntsville-Madison County Public Library, told Huntsville's WHNT-TV. Schremser said there are probably hundreds of books on library shelves that would be condemned by Allen's bill. She points out that All the King's Men, by Robert Penn Warren, would likely be banned for a gay character. "I don't believe in removing books or destroying books, because it reminds me of the Nazi regime," said Madison's Carol Benjamin.
Allen's bill is bad public policy, unconstitutional, and just plain wrong, said a statement from the American Civil Liberties Union. If passed, Alabama's libraries would be robbed of works by celebrated authors such as Herman Melville, Tennessee Williams, Willa Cather, Carson McCullers, John Cheever, Alice Walker, James Baldwin, Truman Capote, and Gore Vidal, to name just a few on what would be a very long list. If this bill becomes law, the ACLU said, it is also likely to entangle Alabama, once again, in costly litigation that will deprive the people of Alabama of money badly needed to improve education and human services.