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‘King & King’ Dragged into California’s Prop 8 Vote
Publishers Weekly ^ | 10/28/2008 | Wendy Werris

Posted on 10/28/2008 6:21:30 PM PDT by nickcarraway

Eight years after its original Dutch publication, controversy continues to swirl around King & King, a picture book by Linda de Haan and Stern Nijland about gay marriage that has become embroiled in the outcome of California’s Proposition 8. Backers of the proposition are fighting to reverse the constitutional amendment that made gay marriage legal this year in the state, partly by running commentary about the “immoral” message in the book in television and radio ads in California.

Nicole Geiger, founder of Tricycle Press, bought the book at the Bologna Book Fair in 2001 and published the American edition the next year. Geiger said she was “devastated” when she found out that King & King is now being cited by backers of Proposition 8 as an example of the type of books that will be used to negatively influence the lifestyle of children. “I immediately sent a personal donation to the ‘No on 8’ campaign in the hope that people will delve a little deeper into this civil rights issue than a TV or radio commercial,” she said. Sales of the book, which has sold 18,000 copies since it was published, have been above average during October. “I’m terribly proud of King & King,” Geiger said, “and saddened by any association with this innocent children’s book by politically motivated attacks on the civil rights of fellow Americans.”

Tricycle Press has been deluged with both complaints and praise for the book since it was published. Politically conservative detractors claim the book isn’t appropriate for children, while groups such as the Lambda Literary Foundation and the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression have supported King & King. Referring to the book, ABFFE president Chris Finan said, “It’s First Amendment-protected, and they can’t go pulling books out of the school library just because some parents are offended by the material.”

The first public squabble about King & King took place in Wilmington, N.C., in 2004, when a first-grader brought the book home from her school library and showed it to her parents, Michael and Tonya Hartsell. The couple so objected to the book’s acknowledgement of homosexuality that they threatened to enroll their daughter in a different school and refused to return the book to the Freeman school library. The Hartsells took their complaint to the national media, and received coverage through AP, CNN and ABC. The result: a committee of parents, teachers and citizens of New Hanover County met and decided that the book would remain at Rachel Freeman Elementary School, but moved to a location only available for parents to check out.

In 2007 King & King was the focus of a lawsuit by two Massachusetts couples who sued the school system after their children’s teacher read the book aloud to her students in Lexington. Robb and Robin Wirthlin and David and Tonia Parker filed a federal lawsuit against the school district of Estabrook Elementary School, claiming that using the book in school constituted sexual education without parental notification. Appearing on CNN, Robin Wirthlin said, "We felt like seven years old is not appropriate to introduce homosexual themes" and "My problem is that this issue of romantic attraction between two men is being presented to my seven-year-old as wonderful, and good and the way things should be." The judge dismissed the lawsuit, writing, "Diversity is a hallmark of our nation.", the most prominent Web supporter of Proposition 8, includes a video of an interview with the Wirthlins and directly addresses California voters. The couple describes their revelation about King & King after their son informed them of it, and voices grave concerns over the consequences of homosexual marriage. In the video the interviewer, expressing alarm, confirms, “This book was actually being read by the teacher in class!” The cover and a few pages of King & King are shown during the interview, which is being aired frequently in California.

On October 23 the Los Angeles Times reported that while most voters reject a ban on gay marriage, the margin on Proposition 8 is closing. According to the Public Policy Institute of California the final tally is hard to predict.

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Extended News; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: comeforyourchildren; culturewar; homosexualagenda; indoctrination; kingandking; lavendermafia; prop8; proposition8; samesexmarriage

1 posted on 10/28/2008 6:21:31 PM PDT by nickcarraway
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To: nickcarraway
Backers of the proposition are fighting to reverse the constitutional amendment that made gay marriage legal this year in the state,

Someone needs to tell Wendy that it was a decree from four tyrants in black robes NOT a Constitutional Amendment that made gay marriage legal.

2 posted on 10/28/2008 6:25:52 PM PDT by ElkGroveDan (Reagan is back, and this time he's a woman.)
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To: ElkGroveDan
Beat me to it.

Hard to say what's ignorance or willful disinformation when you see a statement like that.

But, knowing modern "journalism", the latter is always a good bet.

3 posted on 10/28/2008 6:31:14 PM PDT by Regulator (Obama: a Weatherman Project)
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