Man Burns LGBT Library Books, Can’t Return Them, Must Stand Trial

An Iowa man, Paul Dorr, decided to stream a video on Facebook of himself burning four LGBT books from the Orange County Public Library. Although it is not illegal to burn books, as it falls under the category of protected speech, his inability to return the books by the due date did allow authorities to charge him with fifth-degree criminal mischief, which carries a maximum penalty of $625 and 30 days in jail. Mr. Dorr filed to have the case dismissed, citing his first amendment right to free speech, but the magistrate handling the case denied the dismissal, not because of the reason for his actions, but because he should not be burning things that don’t belong to him.

The books he burned in protest of the Drag Queen Story Time event at the library were “Two Boys Kissing” by David Levithan, “Families, Families, Families!” by Suzanne and Max Lang, “Morris Macklewhite and the Tangerine Dress” by Christine Baldacchino, and “This Day in June” by Gayle E. Pitman. From some of the things he says in the video of his book burning, it would seem he sympathizes with the Nazis of the 1930s, or at the very least feels very inspired by their burning of the Institute für Sexualwissenschaft that contained a vast library of books. He will be going to trial on August 6, 2019.