December 2, 2004


Statement of Olivia Turner, Executive Director of the ACLU of Alabama

BIRMINGHAM, AL - The bill proposed by Representative Gerald Allen that would ban books about gay and lesbian people from public libraries is bad public policy, unconstitutional and just plain wrong. If passed, Alabama's libraries would be robbed of works by celebrated authors such as Herman Melville, Tennessee Williams, Willa Cather, Carson McCullers, John Cheever, Alice Walker, James Baldwin, Truman Capote and Gore Vidal, to name a few on what will be a very long list.

If this bill becomes law, it is also likely to entangle Alabama, once again, in costly litigation that will deprive the people of Alabama of money badly needed to improve education and human services.

Libraries hold a special place in our culture. They are places where people are given the information to make up their own minds about issues and where libraries -- not politicians -- decide what books should be included in their collections based on input from the communities they serve. The ACLU is committed to ensuring that they stay this way.

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