The Electric Commentary

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Once again, The Onion putting things into perspective.

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.

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

"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."

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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.

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