ACLU: “It’s 2022 and Two Books Are on Trial for ‘Obscenity'”
A hearing over whether two books in Virginia Beach school libraries are obscene has been scheduled for the end of next month.
Former congressional candidate Tommy Altman and his attorney, Del. Tim Anderson, want a judge to rule that “Gender Queer: A Memoir” by Maia Kobabe and “A Court of Mist and Fury” by Sarah J. Maas are obscene and should not be distributed to children. The petitioners also filed a motion for a temporary restraining order to restrict access to the books in privately owned bookstores, namely Barnes & Noble.
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From the ACLU:
…last month, a Virginia resident initiated obscenity proceedings against two acclaimed books: Gender Queer, a Memoir, by Maia Kobabe, an autobiographical graphic novel that depicts the author’s experience as a non-binary and asexual person; and A Court of Mist and Fury, by Sarah J. Maas, a fantasy novel. The obscenity proceedings come amid a nationwide rise in efforts to restrict people’s access to books, and our ability to read, learn, and think for ourselves — but they could be the first to result in a statewide ban on publication or distribution.
Last week, several independent bookstores and a number of national organizations representing book distributors, authors, and libraries filed joint motions urging a Virginia court to dismiss these obscenity proceedings. We represent these distributors alongside the ACLU of Virginia and Michael Bamberger of Dentons, arguing that the case threatens the rights of both young and adult readers — and the First Amendment rights of our clients, as well as other booksellers, distributors, and publishers, to provide access to such materials.
More From the ACLU:
On June 22, 2022, our clients—local bookstores Prince Books, Read Books, One More Page Books, and bbgb tales for kids, as well as American Booksellers for Free Expression, Association of American Publishers, Inc., Authors Guild, Inc., American Library Association, Virginia Library Association, and Freedom to Read Foundation—filed motions seeking to dismiss obscenity proceedings against two books, highlighting the unconstitutional nature of the proceedings and noting that the books are not obscene as a matter of law.
See Also: Additional Info and Links to Motions
About Gary Price
Gary Price (email@example.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com. Gary is also the co-founder of infoDJ an innovation research consultancy supporting corporate product and business model teams with just-in-time fact and insight finding.