Aug 282005
Authors: Lee Newville

The Rampart Library District near Colorado Springs yielded last week to the pressures of the socially conservative, Florida-based Liberty Counsel, allowing the group to use their public library for a religious discussion centered on the same-sex marriage debate.

The counsel has argued in the Supreme Court, taking conservative stances on issues such as the Texas Ten Commandments monument, abortion and prayer in schools, as well as fighting same-sex marriage laws in several states.

Facing a lawsuit from the Liberty Counsel, the Rampart Library district decided to rewrite its meeting room policy to allow for the previously rejected issue of same-sex marriages, due to their religious nature.

Although Sharon Quay, the library district director, told the Denver Post that she did not think the old policy violated constitutional free speech laws, the library decided to change its rules instead of fighting the case, citing monetary constraints as a large motivator.

"Every $15 is a book, and every $1,000 is an Internet computer for the public," Quay told the Denver Post.

As far as student opinion at CSU, most were accepting of the Liberty Counsel's stance and recognized that the conference rooms where discussions would be taking place were a closed-off area that would not necessarily expose the general public to the conversation.

Although Forrest Gerke , a junior art major and member of the Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender Student Services (GLBT), disagrees with the philosophies of the Liberty Counsel, he believes the library should be open to all views.

"To deny (the Liberty Counsel) the right to speak and have an opinion would, I don't think, be right," Gerke said. "But to center it around only their opinion is also inappropriate to me."

Quincy Porzio , sophomore equine science major, said religious discussions in a public area would not bother her

"I also see where it would be more beneficial to rewrite the policy to allow anyone to speak on any issue," Porzio said.

As a private, academic institution, the Morgan Library on campus is immune from such concerns.

"The policy here is that we try as a library to remain neutral," said Catherine Murray-Rust , dean of libraries at CSU. "We don't permit public lectures or statements from any particular group from inside the building in the sense that it's not an appropriate use for this building. So, for example, we wouldn't have a religious service of any kind and we wouldn't have a public lecture in this building from any point of view."

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