UPDATE: A federal judge has denied a motion to intervene that would have allowed two Lafayette residents to become plaintiffs in an ongoing lawsuit challenging the Lafayette Public Library hosting Drag Queen Story Time.
However, the judge has allowed the two potential plaintiffs, Aimee Boyd Robinson and Matthew Humphrey, to use the library’s meeting rooms without having to sign a form that would declare they have no affiliation with events similar to Drag Queen Story Time.
“They have to stop using the form immediately,” Robinson told KATC shortly after the hearing ended.
In December, a “stand down agreement” was crafted by lawyers for the library and Lafayette Consolidated Government that sought to protect the library while the legal standing for the lawsuit was being determined in court.
This effectively banned patrons from using the library for events similar to Drag Queen Story Time, but weren’t officially sponsored by the Lafayette Public Library.
Robinson and Humphrey considered this a violation of their First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and sued the public library over the ban with help from the American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana.
A ruling on the legal standing of the original lawsuit against the library for hosting Drag Queen Story Time is expected as soon as next week.
The ACLU, in a statement, spoke on the library’s agreement to lift the ban on patrons organizing Drag Queen Story Time and the use of the form that would require patrons to say they would not use the library space for Drag Queen Story Time.
“The library’s unjust and discriminatory ban targeted LGBTQ Louisianans and violated our clients’ First Amendment rights,” said Katie Schwartzmann, ACLU of Louisiana legal director. “This is welcome news for our clients and everyone in Lafayette who will once again be able to use library facilities without being unfairly interrogated or censored by library officials.”
The judge denied the ACLU of Louisiana’s motion to intervene in the case without prejudice, which means that the organization reserves the right to file subsequent litigation if necessary.
The following is a release from the Lafayette Public Library.
Consistent with the Lafayette Public Library’s continued efforts to abide by the Agreement made with the Court in the pending litigation entitled “Aaron Guidry v. Teresa Elberson, et al,” Case Docket No. 18-CV-01232 in the Western District of Louisiana, counsel for the Library was present in Open Court today for a hearing on a Motion to Intervene filed by the ACLU on behalf of Ms. Robinson and Mr. Humphrey. Counsel met in chambers to work out proposed language for the Meeting Room Form used by the Library for reservation of meeting rooms which addressed concerns and issues raised by the recent Motion to Intervene, as well as the Library’s commitment to comply with its agreement with the Court.
After discussion and consideration, and as per the Library’s prior policies, when a meeting or conference room is not needed for library purposes, meeting and conference rooms may be requested by community-based organizations. To be approved, all groups must meet LPL’s criteria as defined in the Library Meeting Room Guidelines and Policies. Use of the library’s meeting space will be considered after LPL receives the necessary information from the organization requesting the space, as per the instructions on the Library’s website. In addition, the Library’s Patron Behavior Policy (which can also be found on the Library’s website) will likewise govern any patron or group’s use of the Library’s facilities.
Aside from these discussions, the Court advised that it should issue a ruling on the principal lawsuit in the very near future. In addition, the Court denied the ACLU’s motion to intervene. Please know that Library personnel are making every effort to comply with the policies in place to support LPL’s mission, while taking into consideration the fact that there does remain a pending lawsuit requiring considered thought and actions in compliance with agreements made with the Court to allow the Court time to rule on the issues presently before it; therefore, the public’s continued patience during this rapidly evolving process is greatly appreciated.
A hearing is being held over a lawsuit filed against the Lafayette Public Library’s ban on Drag Queen Story Time.
Two people want to be added as plaintiffs to that lawsuit and host a similar event at the library.
Right now, the library is requiring people who want to use a meeting room to sign a form, stating they have no affiliation with Drag Queen Story Time and pledge not to use the space for that purpose.
Today’s hearing is happening at the federal courthouse in Lafayette.