CHICAGO (LifeSiteNews) — Illinois Democrat Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Monday signed a new law penalizing any public school that does not allow children unfettered access to whatever LGBT and/or sexually explicit material that it may house, in the first measure of its kind and a rebuke of states moving in the opposite direction.
HB 2789 declares it “the policy of the State to encourage and protect the freedom of libraries and library systems to acquire materials without external limitation and to be protected against attempts to ban, remove, or otherwise restrict access to books or other materials.”
To carry out this policy, it “adopt[s] the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights that indicates materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval or, in the alternative, develop a written statement declaring the inherent authority of the library or library system to” assemble a diverse collection of material and “prohibit the practice of banning specific books or resources.” Any library or library system that fails to adopt the ALA bill of rights or adopt an equivalent policy against the removal of materials will be ineligible for state grants.
“Here in Illinois, we don’t hide from the truth, we embrace it,” Pritzker declared upon signing the bill at Chicago’s Harold Washington Library. “Young people shouldn’t be kept from learning about the realities of our world.”
“Everyone deserves to see themselves reflected in the books they read, the art they see, the history they learn. In Illinois, we are showing the nation what it really looks like to stand up for liberty,” he added.
The ALA Library Bill of Rights to which the new law refers declares that books and other materials in libraries “should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation” or “because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval” and that a “person’s right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views.”
A note at the bottom of the page acknowledges that “questions do arise concerning application of these principles to specific library practices.” The ALA’s statement on how these principles apply to minors’ access to materials indicates that the group, and by extension any facility that formally adopts its standards, does not allow for any age-based restrictions on access to certain content.
“Equitable access to all library resources and services should not be abridged based on chronological age, apparent maturity, educational level, literacy skills, legal status, or through restrictive scheduling and use policies,” the group says, and concerns about that access should be handled exclusively by how parents “advise” their own children. “Libraries and library governing bodies should not use rating systems to inhibit a minor’s access to materials.”
“I support local control,” responded Republican state House Minority Leader Tony McCombie, the Associated Press reports. “Our caucus does not believe in banning books, but we do believe that the content of books should be considered in their placement on the shelves.”
Across the nation, controversy has exploded in recent years over schools and libraries adopting books that attempt to expose sexual themes and activity to children, often in graphic detail and with pornographic imagery depicting specific sex acts, as well as to instill in children acceptance of homosexuality and belief that gender is a malleable social construct.
The issue, along with the promotion of ideological messages in taxpayer-funded education, has fueled a parent backlash that has been credited with Republican gains in states like Florida and Virginia, whose current respective governors, Ron DeSantis and Glenn Youngkin, have taken leading roles in fighting back.