FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – Fresno County Supervisor Steve Brandau announced a new resolution Thursday called the Parents Matter Act.
Brandau says the legislation would take “graphic” books out of the children’s sections at Fresno County libraries, so only parents would have access to them if they want to introduce topics like gender identity or sex education.
“The bottom line question is, ‘who is the best individual or entity to raise children in Fresno County?’ I’m saying it’s the parents! It’s not government,” Brandau passionately said Thursday.
Brandau says the new legislation stems from parent complaints coming from the Clovis branch of the Fresno County Library in June.
He says a parent sent him photos of sexually explicit materials and gender identity topics displayed in children’s books at the library.
“I sent those to a couple of my friends on the Clovis City Council and then we know there was a debate in the City of Clovis about these issues. But in all honesty, it’s still a county situation. It’s going to take a county solution.”
Brandau read aloud from some of what he says are controversial books Thursday.
He said this resolution wouldn’t ban books but take them out of the children’s section at all 34 county libraries.
“If some parent wants their child to have ‘a first conversation about gender’, they can still do that because the book will still be there. But it will not be accessible to the children without the parent,” he said.
A mother that stood in support with her twin daughters at the announcement, said it is an essential piece of legislature.
“I will teach them what they need to know at certain ages and as they grow up and their bodies change. I will teach them everything that they need to know. But I think I, the parent, should be able to teach them, not outside sources,” said Shelby O’Connor.
However, members of the LGBTQ community that spoke out in opposition against Brandau Thursday, say the resolution feels like an attack.
“(They) make sure the flag can’t fly on any county building back in June. The pride flag. And I think it’s going to continue to cause the same division amongst our community. And I think we’ll see more hate crimes and I think we’ll see more hate incidents,” said Jennifer Cruz with Fresno’s LGBTQ Resource Center.
The resolution would also establish a 15-person committee, with three members appointed by each supervisor, that would review all incoming children’s material at Fresno County libraries.
That committee would deem what is fit for shelves.
The vote on this legislation will take place at the Fresno County Board of Supervisors meeting on Nov. 7.