Idaho Lawmakers Threaten To Jail Librarians for Letting Kids Read LGBT Books

Idaho legislators threaten librarians and other educators with jail time for publishing material that the government considers dangerous.

Like most other states, Idaho has a law making it illegal to provide or expose to minors material that contains nudity or sexual conduct. A $1,000 fine and up to 1 year imprisonment are the penalties for breaking this law.

People can invoke a variety of affirmative defenses if charged with breaking the law.

The Idaho House passed Monday’s bill (51-14). It would remove the exemption for library and educational institutions. H.B. 666 (no really) would just strike out that part of law which provides defense for museum workers and librarians, and replace it by nothing. The fear among librarians is that their works could expose nudity and sexual contact, regardless of context.

Idaho’s existing law states that the restriction does not apply to works that are “of serious literary, artistic or political value for minors” according to “prevailing standards in adult society with respect to what can be suitable for minors.”

So, this law, which determines what is or is not harmful according to the “prevailing standard in the adult population” of the 1980s-era LGBT pandemic, is now a political minefield. It is the Idaho Capital SunLast week, parents brought books featuring LGBT content to a hearing and were told that they should be counted as pornographic or obscene regardless of whether the book contained nude or sexual content.

One mother was unhappy that her child had read a story in a library about a relationship between a knight and a prince who fight a dragon. The book also featured the support of their local community.

The books mentioned were “An ABC of Equality,” “Lawn Boy,” “Fun Home, A Family Tragicomic” and “Gender Queer. A Memoir”.

“How can we make our daughter a drag queen? Kara Claridge, a parent of Kara Claridge explained to legislators that my daughter was raped. What happens to children when they start to follow these explicit behaviors in books?

This bizarre belief is back, that homosexuality/bisexuality does not arise from a complex combination of biological and genetic factors. Instead it comes down to children being exposed work that treats gay people in the same way as regular people. Reading about homosexual people is a violation of a child’s innocence, and it will only cause them to become gay.

This is false. It’s also strange that this discussion returns to culture wars, given the fact that homosexual marriage and relations are legalized in every state and treated exactly the same way as heterosexual relationships. Most Americans—and even a majority of Republicans—support the legal recognition of same-sex relationships.

H.B. opponents Opponents of H.B. 666 claim it is unconstitutionally vague. The Associated Press reported Monday that Democratic House Minority Leader Ilana Rubel (D–Boise) was not actually able to get an answer from bill sponsor Rep. Gayann DeMordaunt (R–Eagle) on whether a librarian could be prosecuted for stocking a Judy Blume book that references masturbation.

It’s clear that the vagueness is part of what’s important. If legislators were required to make a list of specific works they find offensive they’d need to handle the details of defenses (e.g. legality and endorsement by medical or psychological professionals of transgender treatment). Libraries will simply remove work out of fear that they might be prosecuted and have to defend their right to access these works. This is similar to the Florida “Don’t Say Gay” bill that threatened schools with costly civil lawsuits for violating loosely-defined prohibitions on discussing sexual orientation or gender identity. This vagueness will make schools reconsider allowing this topic to be discussed. At allTo ensure they don’t end up in legal trouble. Florida’s bill has passed today. It was already sent to Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis will sign the bill.

These “for children’s sake” culture wars reveal to everyone that it doesn’t matter what’s obscene, culturally acceptable, or not (because we love gays). It is about their personal opinions. This is a quote taken from Monday’s House election.

Bruce Skaug (Republican from Nampa) stated, “I’d rather my 6-year old grandson quit smoking cigarettes tomorrow than have a look at this stuff one-time at the public library.”