Texas judge orders LGBTQ books removed from public libraries to be returned within 24 hours
April 1, 2023 Updated Sat., April 1, 2023 at 6:43 p.m.
A federal judge in Texas ruled that at least 12 books, which were previously removed from public libraries, must be returned to their shelves.
The books were initially pulled after Llano County officials voiced their disagreement with certain LGBTQ and racial content, reports CNN.
But after seven residents sued county officials in April 2022, claiming the move infringed on their First and 14th Amendment rights, U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman ruled Thursday that the books had to be returned in the next 24 hours.
“Although libraries are afforded great discretion for their selection and acquisition decisions, the First Amendment prohibits the removal of books from libraries based on either viewpoint or content discrimination,” Pitman said in his ruling.
Some of the books in question included “Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents” by Isabel Wilkerson, “They Called Themselves the K.K.K.: The Birth of an American Terrorist Group” by Susan Campbell Bartoletti, and “Being Jazz: My Life as a (Transgender) Teen” by Jazz Jennings.
The decision comes during a time of increasing book bans across the U.S., with many conservatives pushing to have educational material removed that centers around LGBTQ issues.
Ellen Leonida, an attorney representing the plaintiffs, described the case as a “ringing win for democracy.”
“The government cannot tell citizens what they can or can’t read,” she added. “Our nation was founded on the free exchange of ideas, and banning books you disagree with is a direct attack on our most basic liberties.”
The defendants argued the removal of the books was part of a regular “weeding” out of books they no longer want in the library.
As of now, it’s unclear whether officials have complied with the judge’s ruling.
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe now to get breaking news alerts in your email inbox
Get breaking news delivered to your inbox as it happens.