Gay newspaper sues Georgia library system

By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com October 04 2002 12:00 AM ET

The editor of a gay newspaper in southeast Georgia has accused the Ohoopee regional library system in Vidalia of censorship after the library banned the publication from its lobby area. The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit Wednesday in U.S. district court in Statesboro against the library on behalf of The Gay Guardian newspaper and its editor, Ron Marcus. "I don't think a librarian should be able to impose censorship or restrict information based on her own Christian views," Marcus said.

According to the lawsuit, the library initially allowed The Gay Guardian to be displayed in the lobby but later banned the publication after receiving complaints about it. The library has since removed all publications from the lobby and is reviewing its display policy, said Dusty Gres, director of the library system. The only materials available to the public now are government forms, such as tax returns, she said.

Gres said the library is not censoring The Gay Guardian, a five-year-old publication with an estimated readership of 200,000 in southeast and central Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina. She said the publisher failed to follow library policies in placing the newspaper in the lobby.