Residents of Murfreesboro in Tennessee recently passed an ordinance that essentially prohibits homosexuality in public in a scheme to ban library books they consider to be gay.
The rural Tennessee town banned “indecent behaviour,” which includes “indecent exposure, public indecency, lewd behaviour, nudity or sexual conduct” in June, and it appears to specifically target the gay community.
They did this through Section 21-71 of the ordinance, which states that sexual conduct includes homosexuality, essentially banning all forms of public affection for gay couples besides talking.
Anyone found going against this new rule will be barred from hosting public events or selling goods and services at them for two years.
The punishment only worsens if someone is found breaking the ordinance in front of children – this will land you a five year barring.
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A challenge to the restriction, led by the American Civil Liiberties Union, has been started. Despite this, city officials have still ratified the ordinanace.
This is all part of a wider plan to ban books which Murfreesboro residents deem homosexual and therefore inappropriate for their children.
Last week, the Rutherford County steering committee met to discuss banning all books that may violate the new ordinance, which resulted in public backlash.
Local acitivist Keri Lambert said at the meeting: “When have the people who ban books ever been the good guys?”
Four books have already been removed under the new rule, including “Flamer, Let’s Talk About It”, “Queerfully and Wonderfully Made”, and “This book is Gay.”
The local library card system will also been changed. Starting next year, all books will be categorised into certain age groups, and children will only be able to check out books that correlate with their age, unless their parents give permission.
This has left local librarians are worried that books assinged to children at school will no longer be available.