Oklahoma Bill Ties Library Funds to Gay-Free Kidsâ€™ Collections
— reported by the American Library Association
On March 15 the Oklahoma House passed by a 60â€“33 vote a bill that prohibits local funding authorities and library boards from funding their public libraries unless the libraries have â€œplace[d] all children and young adult materials that contain homosexual or sexually explicit subject matter in a special area [and limited] distribution . . . to adults only.â€ The bill also specifies that the state library must withhold funds from noncompliant public libraries.
Introduced in February by Rep. Sally Kern (R-Oklahoma City), H.B. 2158 defines homosexual subject matter as â€œcontent that relates to the recruiting and advocating of same gender sexual relationshipsâ€ and sexually explicit subject matter as â€œcontent that describes or depicts sexual conduct . . . so that a prurient interest in sex is promoted.â€ The latter definition specifically exempts material that â€œmerely mentions or references sexual conduct.â€
If enacted, H.B. 2158 would also mandate the establishment of a State Library Material Content Advisory Board to â€œannually develop a recommended list of child and young adult materials that contain homosexual or sexually explicit subject matterâ€ for distribution to every library in the state. The board, appointed by the respective leaders of the state house and senate, would be comprised of four legislators, four parents of minor children, and four teachers.