A federal judge in Texas has ordered officials to return books containing LGBTQ content to shelves after they were removed from public libraries.
U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman issued the order as part of a 2022 lawsuit filed by seven residents against officials in Llano County in central Texas. The LGBTQ books were removed from the shelves of three libraries in the Llano County library system.
The residents said in the lawsuit that the decision by county officials to remove the books from library shelves violated the First Amendment and 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
Judge Pitman ordered the return of the books and required to the library system to reflect these books as available in their catalog and cannot remove any books for any reason while the case is ongoing.
The fight to protect access to books comes amid a book banning boom, with an alarming increase in attempts to censor books in K-12 schools, universities and public libraries. Many of these efforts seek to pull books with LGBTQ characters or themes and are part of a broader, Republican-led movement to chisel away at the rights and status of LGBTQ Americans.
Each attempt to ban a book by them represents a direct attack on every person’s right to freely choose what books to read and what ideas to explore, and to suppress the voices of LGBTQ community.
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