Hearing to determine if Virginia Beach school library books are obscene scheduled for August – The Virginian-Pilot

VIRGINIA BEACH — A hearing on whether two books from Virginia Beach school libraries are obscene is scheduled for later next month.

Former congressional candidate Tommy Altman and his attorney, Del. Tim Anderson, want a judge to rule that Maia Kobabe’s “Gender Queer: A Memoir” and Sarah J. Maas’ “A Court of Mist and Fury” are obscene and should not be distributed to children. The plaintiffs also filed for a temporary restraining order to restrict access to books at private bookstores, namely Barnes & Noble.

The national bookseller as well as the authors and publishers have argued that the books are not obscene and that restricting access to them would be a violation of constitutional rights. The petitions highlight the sexually graphic content of the books, but the leading bookseller, Kobabe, Maas and the publishers argue that, taken together, neither book is obscene under state and constitutional law.

Since the filing of the motions to dismiss, several local businesses and other associations have shown their support for the dismissal of the cases. These include Prince Books in Norfolk and Read Books in Virginia Beach, as well as other bookstores across the state. The Association of American Publishers, Authors Guild, American and Virginia Library Associations and others also shared their support.

Although Altman’s petitions only stated that the two books were available at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and some Virginia Beach Public School libraries, these other groups wrote to the court that they “have a vested interest in s ensure that a wide selection of non-obscene fiction and non-fiction reading material is made available to readers, including material that engages them.

Altman said in a previous interview that it was about “restoring parental rights” and that his goal was to have the books, and other books deemed inappropriate for children, treated the same as children’s books. R-rated films are handled by requiring parental consent to purchase or release from libraries.

“Gender Queer” was removed from Virginia Beach school libraries in May after a task force of school board members found that several of the graphic novel’s illustrations were “pervasively vulgar.”

No other details about the hearing were available in Virginia Beach Circuit Court records.

Kelsey Kendall, [email protected]

About Herbert L. Leonard

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