After Fining Library Over Christian Protester, Maryland Officials Return Money November 28, 2019

After Fining Library Over Christian Protester, Maryland Officials Return Money

Earlier this month, I wrote about how the St. Mary’s County Commissioners in Maryland were punishing a local library after a Christian protested during a Drag Queen Story Hour. The Commissioners decided to take $2,439.38 from the Lexington Park Library’s budget and give it to the local sheriff’s office “for the reimbursement of extraordinary law enforcement services and overtime expenses.”

In a sense, that meant they were taking money away from the library because a Christian whined about a public event. If the goal of the Christian was to hurt the library, it worked. (The drag queens weren’t the problem, though.)

The decision led to local outrage. The office of the Attorney General of Maryland even wrote a letter to a state lawmaker saying that the Commissioners’ actions “could be found to violate the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.”

Those Commissioners held a meeting last week to discuss their decision, the potential lawsuit, and how to resolve this issue moving forward:

As you can see from that clip, the Commissioners voted 4-1 to move $4,000 from their emergency funds to the library to cover the costs of police protection for public events. That amount would nullify the earlier (problematic) decision and give a little more cash for future events. (The one member who opposed the decision said it was too much money. He might have been okay with it had it just been $2,500.)

If this is meant to be a compromise, so be it. It could’ve been worse. But at least the library won’t be punished for holding a public event just because a Christian or two decide they want to ruin it for everyone else. It would’ve been better had the Commissioners recognized that a month ago. But this should stave off any lawsuit for the time being.

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