Conservatives in Trump country attacked a library for hosting a LGBTQ meeting  — it massively backfired
Ben Carson with Commissioner Randy Bunch and the Fulton County Library (Photos: Facebook and Fulton County website)

A group of conservative county commissioners in Fulton County, Pennsylvania voted to declare an LGBTQ meeting "hate speech," but the effort backfired, wrote Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Will Bunch.

But one of the problems in Fulton County is the same with many other places in rural America: access to the internet. So, Bunch explained that the Fulton County Library "in the county seat of McConnellsburg, is a kind of a metaphorical turnpike to a wider world, offering computer terminals for locals lacking internet access and meeting rooms for an array of community groups, while trying to acquire the latest books on its shoestring budget."

One of the community groups that meet in the library is for the LGBTQ+ community, which holds biweekly meet-ups in the public spaces. Because of that, the commissioners tried to kill their funding so dramatically that it would equal budgets from 20 years ago.

Their 4 percent county subsidy was slashed in half during the 2007-2008 recession. So, they asked for an additional $3,000. Instead of helping with the funding, two of the Republicans on the three-commissioner board flatly rejected the request.

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The Fulton County News reported that Commissioner Randy Bunch, who was outside the Capitol on Jan. 6, believes that the LGBTQ meetings are for a "hate group."

"If we support them, we have to support Proud Boys and Black Lives Matter," said Bunch, an avid supporter of President Donald Trump with an eight-foot painting on his company's building.

"Do we want Muslims moving into our county?" asked fellow Republican commissioner Stuart Ulsh. He went on to claim that a Muslim man was arrested with a plot to take over the United States in 30 years. The report has been debunked as a conspiracy theory.

"I don't hate anybody," Bunch told reporters. "I'm just saying that LGBTQ and any of those organizations make people upset. I personally think none of them need any part in Fulton County. I don't dislike anybody; I just don't want something that's going to create friction between people."

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A culture war is already raging in the country over teaching about civil rights, famous people of color, and the abolition of slavery. In Texas, that ban has resulted in some school districts extending it to any material dealing with LGBTQ people and even women's rights. In Spotsylvania County, Virginia a school board member suggested that not only should LGBTQ books be banned but also burned.

Emily Best, who ran for the state senate in 2018 as a Democrat launched a GoFundMe hoping to raise $12,000 for the library. In just four days, the library has raised over $16,000. They're now aiming to raise $20,000. While most of the donations have been $5, $10 and $20 donations, at least one person gave $500.

Even Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, who's running for the U.S. Senate in 2022, is publicizing the campaign.

Another campaign was launched using Facebook, which has raised over $9,000.

While the library hasn't broadcast how it will spend the money just yet, the Philly Inquirer quoted library director Jamie Brambley saying they're looking at purchasing an additional 25 internet hot spots that community members can use to download eBooks, use the printers and even take advantage of the library's digitally-connected sewing machine.

Read the full story here.

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