adBlockCheck

Nation's Gays Demand Right To Library Cards

Top Headlines

Recent News

Obama Resigns From Presidency After Michelle Lands Dream Job In Seattle

‘It’s Time I Made Some Sacrifices For This Family,’ Reports President

WASHINGTON—Saying his wife of 24 years had already sacrificed so much for the sake of his career and that it was time to return the favor, Barack Obama announced Wednesday his resignation as president of the United States of America, effective immediately, following news that Michelle Obama had landed her dream job in Seattle.

High School Nurse Getting Pretty Good At Spotting Morning Sickness

FAIRFIELD, ME―Having seen more students than she can remember come into her office with complaints of nausea and vomiting over the years, Fairfield High School nurse Sarah Bromti told reporters Wednesday she’s getting to the point where she can identify morning sickness without much trouble.
End Of Section
  • More News
TV Listings
Just Like Everything Else!: Fox 8 p.m. EDT/7 p.m. ABC Pete's wife is still on him about building that darn shed, these kids are going to be the death of Sheila and Dave, and the hot next-door neighbor is up in EVERYBODY'S business! Sunday nights on ABC couldn't be any more familiar!

Special Coverage

Satisfaction

Nightlife

Ugh, This A Place Where Bartenders Wear Bow Tie

PITTSBURGH—Saying they should have known from the moment they walked in the unmarked speakeasy entrance and spotted the extensive wood paneling, customers confirmed Friday that, ugh, this is one of those places where the bartenders all wear bow ties.

Nation's Gays Demand Right To Library Cards

WASHINGTON, DC—In another salvo in the ongoing civil-rights battle, the Gay And Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation announced the formation of a broad new campaign supporting full library-card privileges for homosexuals.

Two life partners leave their local library empty-handed.

 "The time for gay people to be granted equal access to our public lending-libraries is long past due," GLAAD Fairness In Book Borrowing Campaign co-chair Elaine Thomas, a self-described committed lesbian and avid reader, said at a press conference outside the Library of Congress Monday. "We are demanding the same opportunity to select, borrow, and return library books—without regard to subject matter or Dewey decimal number—that any other American has. We are talking about a fundamental right."

 GLAAD's announcement comes on the heels of a controversial decision in December by a Hawaii librarian to allow a gay Honolulu resident, Dean Farlaine, 47, to check out three books, which prompted strong protests from proponents of traditional library values. In response to the controversy, the Third Court Of Appeals reversed the card-granting decision. Further complicating the growing legal entanglements, Farlaine has reportedly been too intimidated by the periodic demonstrations outside the library to return the books.

Leaders of the library-cards-for-gays movement, who say some 10 million homosexual citizens are forced to check out books from a loose network of underground libraries each year, liken their plight to American women's long and historic struggle for borrowing privileges. Women were first issued library cards in 1936.

But opponents say the prospect of same-sex book-borrowing endangers the moral fiber of the country's most sacred reading traditions.

Demonstrators call for gay access to bookmobiles in Austin, TX.

"What's next—gay people at the DMV, being granted licenses to drive cars?" Rev. Brian Peters of Verona, WI said. "Will we be soon seeing gays and lesbians at our local post offices, being sold stamps and mailing packages? We must protect our nation's public institutions from relentless encroachment by those who threaten our values."

Other critics say they oppose such a move not out of prejudice, but to maintain the sanctity of a bedrock community institution.

"No one's preventing gays from using libraries—they're fully welcome to walk into them, browse all they want, and sit down and flip through any book they choose, even in the reference section," said Sen. Jim Bunning (R–KY), one of several conservative legislators who has vowed to draft a constitutional amendment that would define library book-lending as a contract between a library and a heterosexual reader. "But to issue them the same library cards as a regular American citizen would demean what our nation's library cards stand for."

"Is that the message we want to send our young readers?" Bunning added.

Others, such as Mansfield, OH mother of four Janet Hargrove, say that because library books are public property and libraries are funded by taxes, taxpayer money should not be used to promote one group's reading agenda.

"I don't want my tax dollars going to something I can't in good conscience support," Hargrove, 32, said. "Who knows what kind of books these people could check out? They could read about anything—even our children."

Some moderates who believe the country is not yet ready for full homosexual library-card access are proposing to state and local lawmakers a compromise solution in the form of a limited-access "Short-Term Government Literacy Loan" card. While the card would grant some borrowing privileges, it would have higher late-return penalties, shorter borrowing times, and may not be recognized as valid by all libraries within the municipality in which it was issued.

"Perhaps in 10 or 20 years we can talk about full library rights for all," said University of Florida Library and Information Sciences Professor Bruce Seitz, who co-authored the proposal. "If gays are issued cards too quickly, we could see a violent reactionary response, with millions of shocked and offended Americans cutting up their own cards and their children's cards."

"For now, gays should just be happy to read their Bibles," Seitz added.

Such compromise solutions do not satisfy activists such as GLAAD's Thomas, who perceive "raging hypocrisy" within the cardholder status quo.

"Among U.S. library-cardholders, at least 50 percent are guilty of repeatedly keeping overdue books, and that figure is probably conservative," Thomas said. "Many don't even use their library cards. Seems like straight people do a good enough job demeaning the institution of book-lending by themselves."

Sign up For The Onion's Newsletter

Give your spam filter something to do.

X Close