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Lawsuit Against Library Claims Drag Queens Reading To Children Is Unconstitutional

Lawsuit Against Library Claims Drag Queens Reading To Children Is Unconstitutional
Denise Cathey/The San Marcos Daily Record

Lafayette Public Library in Louisiana scheduled an afternoon of Drag Queen Story Time.

But a lawyer filed a lawsuit in federal court trying to stop the event.

Drag Queens reading to kids is a new trend that is sweeping the nation.

There are some official groups, such as Drag Queen Story Time, with events all across the country.

Others are smaller efforts, but all have the same mission to send a "message of love and acceptance" to children around the world. and provide children with positive queer role models.

Lafayette Public Library in Louisiana scheduled their own Drag Queen Story Time.

Their event takes place on October 6 and will feature drag queens from the University of Louisiana Lafayette's Delta Lambda Phi chapter. The event is recommended for children ages 3-6 and their families.

A former description of the event read:

"The Drag Queen Story Time will share stories of individuality, openness and acceptance with families seeking an opportunity to show their children that every person is unique and should be treated with equal respect."

The event has been the center of debate since its announcement on August 18th.

In August, Mayor Joel Robideaux threatened to cancel the event at the public library.

He said:

"I will also be asking the library's board of control to conduct a thorough review of its programming and approval process for taxpayer-funded events."

Not long after Mayor Robideaux spoke out against the event, the Board President of Lafayette Public Library, Joseph Gordon-Wilitz, submitted his resignation. Gordon-Wilitz was appointed to the position by the mayor.

His resignation read:

"Good afternoon, Mr. Robideaux.

I respectfully tender my resignation from the Lafayette Public Library Board of Control, effective immediately. In light of the pending response to the request for information regarding library programming, should you need any further information from me once Library Director Teresa Elberson produces an official response, then do not hesitate to contact me.

Thank you for allowing me the awesome opportunity to represent your interests on the Board.

Sincerely, Joseph

Joseph Gordon-Wiltz / Assistant Clerk of the Council, Lafayette City-Parish Council"

Then on September 18, the Lafayette City-Parish Council's vote to oppose the approval of Drag Queen Story Time failed.

However, those against the story hour are not ready to stand down. Now, the library is facing a federal lawsuit.

Chris Sevier, a known evangelical lawyer not licensed to practice law in Louisiana according to the Louisiana State Bar Association, claims that Drag Queen Story Time is in violation of the First Amendment because it is "endorsing secular humanism."

Sevier previously made headlines trying to marry his laptop.

Sevier specifically named library director Teresa Elberson, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards, and Attorney General Jeff Landry in his suit.

But another listed defendant is the mayor of Lafayette, Indiana (Tony Roswarski) and not the mayor-president of Lafayette, Louisiana (Joel Robideaux) as can be seen in the defendants list on the official documents. And the Red River Parish clerk, Stuart Shaw, was also named. Lafayette, Louisiana, is the parish seat for Lafayette Parish.

Sevier said:

"By bringing this lawsuit, we are unapologetically and firmly defending the civil rights movement led by pastor Martin Luther King."
"The evidence would suggest that the self identified transgendered [sic]. They are using a government facility to show that the governments backs their worldview to then target children, to indoctrinate them under a faith based ideology."

The mayor's comments, the council vote and Sevier's lawsuit sparked outrage in the local communities and beyond.

But Sevier has a long history of anti LGBT claims as well as many other interesting personality... quirks.

In December 2011, Sevier was stripped of his right to practice law in Tennessee by the Supreme Court of Tennessee and its Board of Professional Responsibility. Publicly available documents do not list the exact reason beyond stating:

"The Court, therefore, concludes that Mr. Sevier is presently incapacitated from continuing to practice law by reason of mental infirmity or illness."

In 2014, Sevier plead guilty to reduced charges in a plea bargain over felony stalking charges involving two separate incidents: one with a 17-year-old girl and one with country musician John Rich of band Lonestar and duo Big & Rich.

While Sevier claims he filed suit on behalf of Warriors for Christ and Special Forces of Liberty, it is unclear if either organization knows they were named as plaintiffs or if Sevier just pulled their names as he did for his list of defendants.

H/T: Pink News, daily advertiser, KATC, NOLA