A public library in Michigan may close its doors for good after a fight over an LGBT-themed graphic novel.

Voters in Jamestown Township, a politically conservative community in Ottawa County, rejected renewal of a millage (a rate of taxation) Aug. 2  that would support the Patmos Library, according to Bridge Michigan. The vote effectively cuts the library’s operating budget by 84% in 2023. The $245,000 budget comes from property taxes collected through a millage.

The library is most likely to run out of money next year without a millage, according to Larry Walton, the library board president.

“I wasn’t expecting anything like this,” Walton told Bridge Michigan. “The library is the center of the community. For individuals to be short-sighted to close that down over opposing LGBTQ is very disappointing.”

Although people protested at other libraries and school board meetings over LGBT books, this was the first time a community had voted to close a library’s doors for good.

According to voters who spoke to Bridge Michigan, books in the adult and young adult section of the library depict same-sex relationships. A parent earlier this year complained about “Gender Queer: A Memoir” which features the author’s coming out as non-binary story and illustrations of sexual acts.

Amber McLain, the library director, resigned in the spring due to harassment she received online, including being accused of “indoctrinating children,” Bridge Michigan reported.

When the Patmos staff and elected board of directors refused to remove LGBT books, residents became upset and created a group called Jamestown Conservatives to get rid of the library’s millage renewal. According to the group, they want to make the Patmos Library a “safe and neutral place” for children.

This isn’t the first time people have complained about LGBT books. In April, the Palm Beach County School Superintendent announced he would pull two children’s LGBT books off the shelves in light of the “Don’t Say Gay” law. Local LGBT leaders questioned his decision to bow to right-wing activists.

Two books, titled “Everywhere Babies” and “Two Boys Kissing,” were banned in other Florida counties as well.


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