Arizona Secretary Of State Advocates To Keep Porn-Laden Books In Class
By Corinne Murdock |
Arizona Secretary of State Adrian Fontes advocates for keeping porn-laden books in K-12 classrooms.
Fontes claimed that those opposed to sexually explicit content in classrooms were insecure and that the concept was “anti-American.”
“If you’re so insecure in your beliefs that you think you have to ban books, perhaps you should revisit the actual strength of your ideas and values,” tweeted Fontes. “Banning books is anti-American.”
Fontes remarks were indirectly aimed at SB1700, which requires the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) to create and upkeep a list of banned schoolbooks posted to their website and authorize parents to submit for inclusion on the ADE banned book list any books containing lewd, sexual, gender fluidity, gender pronouns, grooming, or pedophilia normalization content.
State Sen. Justine Wadsack (R-LD17), the bill sponsor, accused Fontes of not reading the bill.
“SB1700 doesn’t ‘ban books,’” tweeted Wadsack. “It protects the innocent hearts and minds of children from indoctrinated porn being taught in their public government schools. Stop sexualizing children. Parents have had enough!”
The Senate passed SB1700 last Thursday without vocal opposition from Democrats. However, Democrats argued during the Senate Education Committee that State Sen. Sally Ann Gonzales (D-LD20) claimed that the bill would prevent children from learning about basic anatomy. Wadsack dismissed that claim, noting that the focus of the bill was to keep lewd content out of schools.
Elijah Watson — an activist with Civic Engagement Beyond Voting, and former activist with the Arizona Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee and Arizona Democratic Party — claimed that the bill’s aim to ban porn was a “slippery slope” to censorship of great literary classics like “Of Mice and Men.” Watson said that the bill would ultimately prevent “tough but necessary discussions.”
Lisa Fink, president for Protect Arizona Children Coalition, testified that multiple books that would likely be subject to the prohibited books list included depictions of both children and adults in sex acts. One book highlighted by Fink, “Beyond Magenta,” depicts a six-year-old enjoying oral sex.
“Alarmingly, there is no immediate clarification for these pictures that this is illegal and damaging behavior,” stated Fink. “The book displays graphic language, violent sex, and graphic depictions of oral sex committed by children.”
Chris Kotterman representing the Arizona School Boards Association (ASBA) claimed that this was “unprecedented state control of curriculum.” Kotterman issued a veiled warning that the ADE wouldn’t always be run by a Republican individual, indicating that the prohibited books list would be weaponized against those advocating against sexualized content.
A group of transgender activists argued in opposition to the bill.
Erica Keppler, a transgender individual, claimed that gender fluidity is a “natural phenomenon.” Keppler claimed that any book using any pronouns, even in their correct usage, would be subject to the bill’s ban. Austin Davidson, another transgender individual, said that books affirming the lifestyles of fellow transgender individuals were necessary.
Alicia Messing, who signed a pledge to teach Critical Race Theory regardless of law or parental consent, said that teachers should dictate what students learn, not parents. Messing’s remarks made national headlines.
“We all have advanced degrees. What do the parents have? Are we vetting the backgrounds of our parents? Are we allowing the parents to choose the curriculum and the books that our children are going to read? I think that is a mistake,” said Messing.
It’s unlikely that any legislation of this nature — wholeheartedly supported by Republicans and opposed by Democrats — will become law. Gov. Katie Hobbs has engaged in a veto streak against Republican-led legislation.
Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.