Iowa man burns LGBTQ children’s books from public library to protest pride festival


An Iowa public library is considering legal options after a man checked out and burned children’s books to protest the city’s Pride festival and story time. 

Paul Dorr posted a live video on Facebook on Friday that showed him throwing at least four books with LGBTQ themes into a fire inside a trash can, The Des Moines Register reported on Monday. 

Dorr’s video was posted just before the beginning of the second annual OC Pride, a three-day weekend of “love, acceptance and pride” in conservative Sioux County in northwest Iowa.

{mosads}He said he borrowed the “shameful and wicked” books from the Orange City Public Library to prevent them from being read during a Pride-themed story time.

Several of the books Dorr burned were included in a petition earlier this year asking that the books be banned or labeled as homosexual or transgender content.

“I cannot stand by and let the shameful adults at the Orange City Library Board bring the next group of little children into their foul, sexual reality without a firm resistance,” Dorr said in the video before burning the books.

Dorr is the director of Rescue The Perishing, a religious group he describes in the video as a “crisis center and pro-life, pro-family movement.”

Dorr said he was not representing any political party with his book-burning.

He did not respond to The Register’s request for comment.

The organizers of Orange City Pride told The Hill in a statement Monday that they are aware of the video but are focused on creating a “healthy, loving environment for the LGBTQ+ of the community.” 

“It is disappointing to see folks break the law in a community where we believe abiding by the law keeps everyone safe,” the statement read. “We are thankful for the LGBTQ+ community here in NW Iowa for setting a positive example of building community in light of those who do violent, illegal things to prove a point.

“OC Pride is committed to creating safe, supportive, and encouraging spaces & events for the local, rural LGBTQ+ community of NW Iowa,” the statement continued. 

The group said they are encouraging people to reach out to the Orange City city council and police department concerning the destruction of city property.

Amanda Vazquez, Orange City’s public library director, told the newspaper that she alerted the library board’s shortly after learning about the video on Saturday.

She said she has spoken with authorities to determine what “next steps” the library could take against Dorr, including possible legal action.

Mark Stringer, the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Iowa, told the newspaper that he found the video “disgusting.”

“Burning books from a public library is a clear attempt to shut down the open sharing and discussion of ideas,” Stringer said. “It’s one person, or maybe a group, deciding that they’re the gatekeeper of ideas for the rest of the public.”

The protest is not unique to Iowa.

In Houston, a group is suing the public library as well as Mayor Sylvester Turner over the city-funded “Drag Queen Story Hour.” 

Tags book burning Iowa Iowa LGBTQ pride festival
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