Mayor who promotes city’s 'progressive leadership' blocks taxpayer funds over library’s 'homosexual materials'
Last March, Ridgeland, Mississippi Mayor Gene McGee spent time reading books to students at a local elementary school in celebration of Dr. Seuss’ Read Across America Week.
In September Mayor McGee signed a proclamation promoting Constitution Week, celebrating the 234th anniversary of the drafting of the U.S. Constitution.
Mayor McGee, who says his city of Ridgeland “attracts new businesses and new residents because of its vibrant businesses, progressive leadership, excellent schools and welcoming neighborhoods,” this week is refusing to release $110,000 in already appropriated funds to the local library because it has “homosexual materials” that he claims violate his Christian beliefs.
McGee “told me that the library can serve whoever we wanted, but that he only serves the great Lord above,” Tonja Johnson, executive director for the Madison County Library System told the Mississippi Free Press.
The counsel for the library board, Bob Sanders, was asked at a Tuesday meeting of the Ridgeland Library’s board if the mayor has legal authority to block the funds.
“Uh, no.” Sanders responded.
Mississippi Free Press reporter Nick Judin adds that “the mayor’s action may well violate basic constitutional rights, based on earlier court cases on the subject of LGBTQ book bans, including Sund v. City of Wichita Falls.”
On Twitter, Judin adds more details:
"...we encourage compassion and acceptance; we create a dialogue with the world as it is - as it could be - and invite children to continue that dialogue themselves."pic.twitter.com/HypoCiujPE— Nick Judin (@Nick Judin) 1643161188
Tonja Johnson had a similar message: "It\u2019s important to understand that LGBTQ+ books and materials are not just for the LGBT but for all of us: whether we can see ourselves reflected in those materials or so that we can develop understanding, empathy and respect for others."pic.twitter.com/72MjE1sBm0— Nick Judin (@Nick Judin) 1643161362
Judin also offers this plea: “if you are sharing this story to make a point about Mississippi, I encourage you to remember that Mississippi is not just Gene McGee. Mississippi is also Tonja Johnson and the library board who voted unanimously to ignore his demands.”
No word yet on if the funds will be released.