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Queer books burned in Illinois library

Photo: WMAQ. See more images and video.

Someone set fire to the gay and lesbian book section of the John Merlo Library in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood, and there’s speculation that this was a hate crime. (WBBM):

The Chicago Public Library says that about 100 books were destroyed after someone set a fire in the section for gay and lesbian literature.

It happened Tuesday about noon at the John Merlo branch of the public library in the 600 block of West Belmont. Newsradio 780 is told that someone is believed to have set fire to books with a cigarette lighter and that about 90 gay and lesbian books were destroyed, and that about 10 books destroyed in the African American literature section.

Blender Greg G. initially emailed me about this story; he called the library and was told by a staffer they think it was definitely arson and one target was the LGBT collection.

WMAQ Chicago has additional information on the arson.

Chicago police said they were calling Tuesday’s incident arson, but representatives of the gay community said on Wednesday that the timing with the upcoming Gay Pride Parade and proposed laws dealing with gay marriage in the works, the incident is too coincidental.

…”Lakeview and the city of Chicago represents some of the most accepting, tolerant communities in the United States,” said Art Johnston, a board member of Equality Illinois. “The fact that this could happen in a library, of all places, is scary for all of us. In my experience, an attack on any of the communities is an attack on all of us.”

The library contact information:

644 W. Belmont Ave. 60657
(312) 744-1139, (312) 744-5553
(312) 744-0716 (FAX)


Shakes Sis also weighs in, and notes that “Area fundies have also been increasingly wingnutty since Chicago decided to host the Gay Games later this summer. Someone’s trying to send a message.”

Yes, Miss LaBarbera of the Illinois Family Institute has been wringing his hands over the Gay Games for quite some time. The leather-event-investigating winger activist was angry at Mayor Daley because the mayor welcomed the 2006 Gay Games — and declined to bid for the next Republican National Convention. Peter:

“…he has his priorities all mixed up…Perhaps if this were a convention of homosexual Republicans, he would be showing some interest”.

Then he was mad at Kraft and Walgreens, two sponsors of the Gay Games (Walgreens is providing HIV/AIDS awareness education as well) that refused to back out when he started throwing a tantrum.

“The Gay Games are about homosexuality, and I think it’s wrong for Walgreens to sponsor it. They’ve taken the step of becoming an official sponsor, which is putting the Walgreens name to endorsing this event.”

…LaBarbera said he has no problem with AIDS awareness and education because: “Homosexual behavior itself is a leading cause of HIV.” But he said that he is opposed to an event to promote gay athletes to do it in.

And his campaign to try to stop the Illinois Bureau of Tourism from promoting the Games was completely unhinged.

This is outrageous: the people of Illinois should have a say over which events are promoted using their taxpayer funds. Koster emphasized that the Tourism Bureau is NOT funded through general taxes but rather through the an Illinois hotel/motel tax. However, this means that if the “Gay Games” grant is approved and you have stayed in an Illinois hotel or motel, the taxes YOU paid will be used to promote an event designed in part to celebrate homosexuality.

…We doubt the exaggerated claims of “gay” activists who say the “Gay Games” will bring in $50 million in tourist money to Illinois. Homosexuals may be better off financially than the average Joe, but I doubt they can spend THAT much! After all, as reported by the “gay” press, the homosexual “Games” have been a financial disaster in Montreal and Amsterdam, where they were held before.

But even if the “Gay Games” does bring significant tourist money into Chicago, there are some things that are far more important than money. It is simply wrong to promote homosexuality and other immoral behaviors in the name of sport. Send a message to your government that money isn’t everything. We don’t want Illinois being known as a homosexual tourist mecca.

So, it’s not as if there hasn’t been a sufficient amount of wingnut activity around that would make it possible for some fool in Chicago to think burning gay books is A-OK with the moralists.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding