Book on Gay Marriage Contested at Brentwood Library Board Meeting

A resident's daughter brought the book home, and now he wants it removed from the library.

The Brentwood Public Library hasn’t had a book challenged in the seven years that Ellen Walther has been on the board, but a children’s book that touches on the subject of gay marriage is now under consideration to be removed.

Brentwood resident James Vandervoort’s daughter brought home the book, Uncle Bobby’s Wedding, without his knowledge, and now he wants it removed from the shelves. He met with the library board (though not a quorum) Monday, Oct. 15, to make his case.

"The purpose of the book is to help foster acceptance, and to glorify homosexual marriage," he said. "I think that’s a realistic synopsis of what the book is about."

Using gerbils as characters, a girl (gerbil) is upset because her favorite uncle is getting married, and she thinks she’ll lose him as a friend. Her uncle is marrying another male gerbil.

Vandervoort said the book advocates an illegal activity to children.

He said there could be many groups that advocate illegal activities, such as white supremacists groups, that would like to have books targeted for children to accept.

“If we say this is OK, would it be a jump to think that NAMBLA (North American Man/Boy Love Association) in Brentwood or the region would say, ‘we think this is such a good idea, we would like to extend the joys of homosexual marriage to younger people.’”

Library Director Vicki Woods said that wasn’t likely, because a book advocating pedophilia doesn’t fit into the Brentwood Library’s mission.

Board member Brian Rothery said he thought the book is designed to give comfort to a child who’s confused about something involving a parent.

“Other than the fact that they’re both dressed in tuxedos, the names are androgynous, I don’t think it hits you over the head (that it’s a gay marriage),” Rothery said.

Vandervoort said the purpose of the book is clear.

“What light is Uncle Bobby portrayed in? That he’s a great guy and he’s getting married, and that’s not a bad thing,” Vandervoort said. “I think it’s hard to say this book is right down the middle neutral.”

Lynne DeVaughan said the purpose of a library is to encourage literacy, and there’s no right or wrong type of material to do that. She said what is legal or acceptable can change, and it’s up to the patron to determine what is acceptable for her household.

She also said the author wrote the book to be published everywhere, “and we have people who are gays and lesbians everywhere in this society, whether it’s legal or not.”

Board member Jackie Radovich said she knows several gays and lesbians, but can see Vandervoort’s point.

“They are beautiful people, but the marriage part – that’s not legal everywhere,” she said. “Just very small areas where it’s legal. That’s what bothers me.”

DeVaughan said she had a problem with removing the book because gay marriage is illegal in Missouri.

“How would we ever have a revolution, and changes in any kind of government system in society if we didn’t allow for other voices?” she said.

Vandervoort said, “We can get a revolution, or chaos, or anarchy by not following the rule of law.”

Woods ended the conversation, and told Vandervoort the board would vote on his request at the next board meeting.

Also in Patch:

Banned Books Week: Brentwood Library Book on Gay Marriage is Contested

John Q. Public October 22, 2012 at 09:23 PM
And you think the "pro gay marriage" proponents have a right to inflict their moral agenda on the entirety of America. A vast majority of who have routinely turned this down in ballot initiatives. In fact, this issue has yet to pass a vote. Who's forcing on whom, now?
John Q. Public October 22, 2012 at 09:34 PM
Becca, Nobody's "conflating". The demand for previously non-existant "rights" is a slippery slope. Once you create a "right to marry" out of thin air, and in the process redefinie marriage to be anyone's chosen union, the state will have NO legal grounds to oppose polygamy, marriage to animals, marriage of siblings, or marriage to inanimate objects. etc. This is 100% irrefutable. And you can already see liberals in the entertainment industry attempting to move the ball. How many polygamy "reality" shows have been but on the air in the last few years? That's no coincidence.
John Q. Public October 22, 2012 at 09:39 PM
You clearly don't understand what the word "persecute" means. And have similar problems defining the word "hate" and "prejudice". I challenge you to find any proof of either in any of Mr. Vandervoort's statements. Tolerance (that all powerful god of the pc left) is a pretty nasty double-edged sword. Try as you might, you can't bend it to face just against your enemies. Ultimately, you are cut by the same weapon you wield.
John Q. Public October 22, 2012 at 09:42 PM
Trust me - the Vandervoorts were involved. They discovered what the book was about at home before they read it to their daughter. Mr. Vandervoort's complaint is that the book is available at all. It is incidental that they happen to check it out. See his comments toward the end of this thread.
Mom of 1 October 23, 2012 at 02:37 AM
John, you are making an impressive effort to miss the point. The complaint was made on the grounds that the book was about an illegal activity, however, no other books regarding illegal activities were mentioned. This is clearly an issue of someone not wanting to be honest about WHY he is bothered. In regards to moral values, a library's job is not to give morality. That is the job of parents. I teach my child that all people are created equal and adults have the right to enter into loving relationships. Sadly, not everyone beleives that. I'm glad that the Brentwood library is willing to make materials available that encourage tolerance. However, I will continue to be an active participant in my child's life so I can help her pick reading material that I think is appropriate. That's my job, not the library's. No one is forcing me to show my child any book I deem inappropriate.


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