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GOP lawmaker trying to ban Drag Queen Story Hours in public libraries says death threats have been directed at him, family


'Vitriol and the hate'

FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images

Missouri state Rep. Ben Baker, a Republican, told the Daily Caller that he and his family have received death threats after introducing a bill that would ban Drag Queen Story Hours in public libraries.

Baker added to the outlet he's received "thousands of emails" over his bill and that "the pushback from media and from even the American Library Association ... was astounding."

"I've taken on some controversial issues in my time in public office, but this one has by far been the worst when it comes to the vitriol and the hate that we have received for doing this," he noted to the Daily Caller.


Baker provided the outlet with several photos of hateful messages sent to him on social media — and in one of them a Facebook user commented on a Baker family photo, saying the individuals in it are a "bunch of repulsive swines."

"F***ing diseased pig, and his disgusting inbred little piglets," the user also wrote — with the F-word spelled out — the Daily Caller said. "Hope you all die a slow and painful death."

He also got a card signed "all librarians in St. Louis City and County" which read, "Please just STOP it with your imbecile proclivities."

The Daily Caller said the St. Louis County Public Library didn't respond to its request for comment.

What does else does Baker's bill say?

Baker's bill proposes instituting parental review boards to oversee event approval and potentially penalizing librarians with fines and even jail time if they violate the guidelines, the Washington Examiner said. The bill would also strip government funding from libraries that allow minors to view "age-inappropriate sexual materials," the paper added.

"They've had these drag queen story hours, and that's something that I take objection to and I think a lot of parents do," Baker said when the bill was introduced, the Examiner said. "That's where in a public space, our kids could be exposed to something that's age-inappropriate. That's what I'm trying to tackle."

More pushback

In addition to the hate mail and death threats, Baker has been getting opposition from the American Library Association, LGBTQ proponents, and even Drag Queen Story Hour itself, the Daily Caller said, adding that more than 100 people gathered Saturday at the Missouri Capitol in Jefferson City for a protest rally organized by drag queens.

"We are deeply concerned by Missouri House Bill 2044, 'Parental Oversight of Public Libraries Act,'" Every Library wrote in a statement after Baker introduced the bill, the outlet noted. "It sets up quasi-governmental tribunals that circumvent the normal way libraries review materials challenges and imposes fines or jail time on librarians who violate the act. It's a bad bill and needs to be stopped."

But Baker is resolute, telling the Daily Caller that he's "a big advocate for children. I have four daughters. I'm a conservative. I've taught at a Bible school for eight years ... I have a very conservative background and even a background in ministry."

He added to the outlet that Drag Queen Story Hours shouldn't be a concern limited to religious people.

"It's an issue of protecting our kids from what I believe is a concentrated effort to push the LGBTQ agenda onto our children," Baker told the Daily Caller. "Even worse than that, subjecting them to unwanted advances by people that I believe have nefarious intentions for children. And that's my concern."

The outlet said Drag Queen Story Hour and the American Library Association didn't respond to its requests for comment.

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