Alabama legislator, a presidential pal, wants to ban gay books
You have to feel sorry for Gerald Allen, the Alabama state legislator who wants to ban—actually pull from the shelves of every library in his state—all novels, plays, and poetry that recognize or promote homosexuality.
Asked what he would do with the material, he told reporters earlier this week: “I guess we dig a big hole and dump them in and bury them.”
What’s Allen going to do when he has to choose between George W. Bush and Lynne Cheney, who is devoted not only to Bush but also to everything his name stands for?
Gary Taylor of The Guardian (U.K.) recently tracked down Allen, who also runs CASHCO Marketing in Tuscaloosa, and discovered that the lowly state solon not only has been summoned to D.C. to meet with Bush but that the two of them have chewed the fat four previous times. As Taylor writes:
Allen does not want taxpayers’ money to support “positive depictions of homosexuality as an alternative lifestyle.” That’s why Tennessee Williams and Alice Walker have got to go.
But so does Lynne Cheney. The vice president’s wife is a huge Web star as an author because of Sisters, her 1981 lesbian novel set in the Old West.
For that matter, what’s Bush going to do? Who’s he going to choose? He’s chewed the fat with both Allen and Lynne Cheney. It’s not known whether Allen has chewed anything with Lynne Cheney, but he’s unlikely to, say, share an apple with her if sees her at the White House during his next visit with Bush. Here’s an excerpt from Sisters:
The women who embraced in the wagon were Adam and Eve crossing a dark cathedral stage—no, Eve and Eve, loving one another as they would not be able to once they ate of the fruit and knew themselves as they truly were. She felt curiously moved, curiously envious of them. She had never to this moment thought Eden a particularly attractive paradise, based as it was on naiveté, but she saw that the women in the cart had a passionate, loving intimacy forever closed to her. How strong it made them. What comfort it gave.
Taylor doesn’t mention the Cheney angle, but see The Swift Report, in which Cole Walters writes:
Allen told the Birmingham News that Cat on a Hot Tin Roof would most likely have to be pulled from the repertoire of university theater programs. He remained silent, however, on the question of what would happen to Sisters, a racy historical romance published in 1981 by Lynne Cheney, wife of Vice President Dick Cheney, that includes scenes of forcible rape and a lesbian love affair.
If you’re all steamed up, go to this Censoround page, or read this op-ed piece in the University of Alabama’s Crimson White that dares to disagree with the obviously rigid Allen. Writer Sean Aden Lovelace, a teacher at ‘Bama, notes:
I don’t suppose Mr. Allen would, or even could, under his legislative plan, read the words of Jesus. See, under Mr. Allen’s definition—works that “recognize” homosexuality—one other book, a text full of violence and sex and multiple wives and animal sacrifice and, yes, references to homosexuality, would certainly have to be banned in Alabama. That book would be the Holy Bible.
That begets this question: Where’s Mary Cheney?
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on December 9, 2004