Wisconsin Governor Evers Says GOP Will Ban Books If He Loses | New Policies

By SCOTT BAUER, Associated Press

MADISON, Wis. (AP) – Democratic Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers said at a Pride Month launch ceremony Wednesday that if he loses re-election in November, Republicans will take the “breathtaking” step of banning books, especially those related to the LGBTQ community.

Evers made his comments after a ceremony outside the state Capitol where a Progress Pride flag was raised symbolizing the inclusion of marginalized people within the LGBTQ community. Evers, who has sworn to always stand with the LGBTQ community, was the first governor to raise a rainbow flag over the Capitol in 2019. He was asked if he was worried the tradition might end if a Republican beat him.

Evers said he was concerned about any progress made for the LGBTQ community. He referenced the efforts of some Republican lawmakers who are studying the books available in school libraries across the state. The Wisconsin Examiner reported Tuesday on Republicans assembling lists of books covering LGBTQ topics and characters, as well as issues of gender identity or sexuality.

“They’re going to be in charge of banning books in the state of Wisconsin and you can be sure some of them will be directly tied to the efforts of the LGBTQ community,” Evers said. “Just think about it. This Republican legislature and governor would ban books in the state of Wisconsin. It’s breathtaking.

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The Republican gubernatorial candidates did not comment or directly respond to Evers’ comments about the book ban.

Former Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch’s campaign spokeswoman Alex Zimmerman said she supports legalizing same-sex marriage and “she’s moved on from that debate.” Kleefisch in 2010 said same-sex marriage could cause people to marry dogs, tables, or clocks. She then apologized.

However, she won’t fly the pride flag.

“Rebecca will not use flags above the Capitol as political props,” Zimmerman said.

The construction company‘s co-owner, Tim Michels, did not say in a statement whether he would fly the flag.

“I think people of all sexual orientations would rather the government not call them non-essential, shut down businesses, schools and churches, and make bad decisions that cause gas prices to approach $5 a day. gallon,” Michels said. “Tony Evers is more interested in flags than solving the problems of his creation.”

Business consultant Kevin Nicholson told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that the only flags he would fly over the Capitol are the US flag, the Wisconsin flag and the flag honoring prisoners of war and the fallen.

Nicholson’s spokeswoman, Courtney Mullen, did not respond directly to questions about the book ban, saying only in a statement that he supports “full transparency in the program” and “that parents should have the right to take their children out of environments where they believe inappropriate material is being taught”.

State Representative Timothy Ramthun did not immediately return the messages. The winner of the Aug. 9 primary will advance to face Evers.

Republicans control the state Legislature and are widely expected to maintain or even increase their majorities after the fall election. If a Republican is governor, anything the legislature passes can be enacted.

Evers has vetoed more bills in his more than three years as governor than any other governor in state history. He points out in his re-election bid that he’s the only person stopping Republicans from passing sweeping policy changes affecting elections, abortion rights, gun laws and now children’s rights. LGBTQ.

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