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COLUMBIA, S.C. — A South Carolina House committee has voted to table a bill that would have, in effect, prohibited events such as “Drag Queen Story Hour” from being presented in the state’s public libraries.
According to reports, Rep. Garry Smith, R-Greenville, had proposed a budget amendment that would have required all state-funded libraries to abide by the Standards for Health and Safety Education Act, which currently solely applies to public schools and determines what is “age appropriate” for children.
Smith told the House Ways and Means Committee that in applying the standards, it would therefore not be age appropriate for “four men dressed as women to talk to 3-to-8-year-olds about being transgender and those issues.”
“If it’s not appropriate for our education system, it shouldn’t be appropriate for the library,” Smith said, according to The State.
Under his measure, if a library failed to following the rules, it could lose its funding.
Some of Smith’s colleagues opined that the proposal could be problematic, as it could spark lawsuits over equal access to public buildings.
“The First Amendment protects even speech we don’t like,” stated House Minority Leader Todd Rutherford, D-Columbia, according to The Greenville News. “Speech that we don’t like taking place in a public place like a library is going to be protected.”
“Did those 3-to-8-year-olds drive themselves?” he asked. “If not, the parents determined what was appropriate for
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