Paul Cohen is the person who raised the matter about the book in the first place. He realizes "this principle applies whether homosexual or heterosexual." But many of his supporters, detractors, and those in the media are turning this issue into one about homosexuality. Linked here are a number of media reports on this Helena, MT, library matter.
It is my opinion those who support his position are raising concerns about homosexuality out of a misunderstanding of the purposes of public libraries. But those who oppose his position raise concerns about homosexuality knowing it is a red herring.
For example, in an analogous situation, parents in a public school in Howell, MI, complained about a book because it contained, among other things, bestiality. The American Library Association [ALA] implied those parents were racist for opposing the book containing bestiality because the author is "black." The public school, now chastised by the ALA for being racist, chose to keep the bestiality book available for students. So much for local control.
And look at the title of that article: "Group Targets Black Authors' Books." It is like the titles of stories now circulating, e.g., "Library Holds Hearing on Gay-Sex Book," Associated Press, 18 September 2008. What a difference it would make if the titles were unbiased: "Group Targets Books Containing Bestiality"; "Library Holds Hearing on Book Deemed Inappropriate for Children." I made this very observation evident to the Howell community, but the ALA is too intimidating, so it often gets away with bullying tactics, such as calling people racist.
Do the people of Helena, MT, want to suffer the same fate? Does the existence of some "anti-gay" people or an inartfully-framed argument mean children should continue to be exposed to inappropriate material despite the US Supreme Court, the law, and common sense? There are perfectly reasonable and legal means to restrict children's access to inappropriate materials in public libraries. If Paul Cohen did not make this case well enough, that does not mean nothing should be done. Helena citizens should set aside library misinformation and biased media reports and editorials and take action accordingly. (One editorial even promoted the ALA's "Banned Books Week," which Thomas Sowell calls "National Hogwash Week.")
I recommend people on all sides drop the issue of homosexuality since it is irrelevant to the matter of protecting children from material inappropriate for minors. I realize those who support Paul Cohen will find this tough medicine to swallow, and those who oppose him will continue to use the homosexuality angle as the red herring it is. After all, calling parents racists worked in keeping the children exposed to bestiality, so why not follow the ALA's lead and call people bigots?
By the way, Paul Cohen has created an excellent resource on this "Joy of Gay Sex" matter. It is excellent because it contains the opinions of people on all sides of this issue. See "Summary of the Public Hearing with Paul's Commentary." A similar article presenting all sides of an issue that I had made available, "Ban the Bunnies," was used as course material in the #1 library and information science Ph.D. school in the USA. Thank you, Paul Cohen, for making this useful resource available.