UPDATE: Lafayette Parish Mayor-President Joel Robideaux released a statement Tuesday morning saying he intended to move to cancel the Drag Queen Story Time event.
In response to public requests, LCG is working to determine how this event was approved as a programmed event of the Library, who has authority to cancel or move it, and the process for doing so.
The Library has an Executive Director that is appointed by and answers to the Library’s Board of Control. As Mayor-President, I have one appointment to the Library’s Board of Control and the Lafayette City-Parish Council has the remaining seven appointments. I will be discussing cancellation of the event or privately-owned location alternatives with my appointment and encourage the Council to do the same. 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.
Our parish libraries are public spaces, with venues that any group or individual can reserve, on a non-discriminatory basis, as required by law. We have to be certain, however, that our internally approved programming is both appropriate and serves the needs of Lafayette Parish. That is the only way our library system will continue to enjoy the support from our community that it has historically received.
As of this time, there is no word as to how the Delta Lambda Phi fraternity will respond to the statement. See below for the original story and column on the event.
ORIGINAL: Deep in the heart of fairly conservative Cajun country, a public library’s website advertises an LGBT group’s outreach event: Drag Queen Story Time.
The event description is simple enough.
Join us for an afternoon of books, songs, and activities led by drag queens from UL Lafayette’s Delta Lambda Phi chapter. Recommended for Ages 3 – 6 and their families.
Saturday, October 6
2:00 – 3:00 PM
Delta Lambda Phi is a national college fraternity, one that pushes LGBT issues on the campuses it has set up chapters. The local chapter, located on the campus of the University of Louisiana in Lafayette, is in its first year. The program is their first community event, it appears.
Local media has been buzzing with the news. Local talk shows have decried the event, calling it indoctrination. The library, according to callers, has responded to complaints by lauding the event’s “inclusion” of the LGBT community. I live here, and I pay taxes that help fund the library (more on that in a moment).
There is always the argument of “Is this appropriate for children so young?” To push something like this to children ages 3-6, who by and large have no concept of sexual identity at all, is unsettling at best. However, beyond all that, there is another issue.
I am, I would wager, one of the most liberal on the Front Page contributors here at RedState when it comes to LGBT issues, and an event like a Drag Queen Story Time is not something I would normally make a fuss over. This is Louisiana, after all, and stranger things happen just two hours down the road (New Orleans) on a regular basis. This event, however, worries me.
It worries me because the Delta Lambda Phi fraternity reached out to the library and asked them to host it. That right away tells me that the group is seeking more aggressive outreach. The type that can be disruptive.
Imagine if the library had said “No, thanks.” They would immediately be slapped with a lawsuit, and suddenly the story becomes a potential Supreme Court case. This wasn’t the library asking the organization if they would like to host an event, but the organization putting the library in a tough spot.
This part of the state is pretty conservative, as well as highly Christian. Socially it is conservative, and recent tax proposal elections have shown the area to also be fiscally conservative. Outside of UL, it is impossible to see a major progressive presence making a request like this.
But, the Drag Queen Story Time is not an event being hosted at the university library. It is being held at the parish library. It is not state-funded, but locally-funded.
I cannot blame the library for saying “Yes!” to Delta Lambda Phi. The headache that would stem from that would be overwhelming. However, one of those tax proposals that failed at the ballot box? Yeah, it was a proposed sales tax for the public library. It’s speculated that the library will try again, but by the time the next election cycles roll around, this event will already have happened.
How do you think the socially and fiscally conservative voters of the parish will react? The library may never see another cent from the residents.
So, Delta Lambda Phi has effectively screwed the public library either way. Had the library said “No,” the group likely would have sued (if they hadn’t, sympathizers would have), and it’s not like the library can back out now. But, by saying yes, the library has effectively hurt its ability to generate more tax revenue for itself.
Is destroying a public service worth it if the agenda is furthered?