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Lycoming County Commissioners speak on display controversy

KAREN VIBERT-KENNEDY/Sun-Gazette John Shableski speaks of his support of the Pride Display in the children’s section of the James V. Brown Library. during the county commissioners meeting Tuesday morning.

Lycoming County commissioners took turns expressing their thoughts on the controversial James V. Brown Library Pride Month display.

It was past well past 1 p.m. and more than three hours into their weekly meeting after 36 people spoke to the issue when Commissioner Tony Mussare gave his thoughts on the matter.

Mussare and Commissioner Scott Metzger both had called for the removal of some half-dozen children’s books on LGBTQ issues from the children’s section display.

Mussare first accused the media of misleading the public into believing something that wasn’t said.

He said he supports the constitutional rights of people.

He asked where taxpayers draw the line of support for displaying or promoting indoctrination of a certain material.

For some taxpayers, he said, that matters.

“I think we all learned a lot today,” he said.

He said he went to the library and looked at the books on display and changed his previous thoughts about some of them.

He told those in attendance to celebrate Pride Month.

“Continue to fight for your cause. People are listening,” he said.

Metzger said books on sexual identity issues are best explored and discussed with children in a family setting.

“I will not make an apology for my values or who I am,” he said. “I love everybody.”

He said he received concerns from constituents about the books in the children’s area.

“It was suggested they be relocated. I don’t think that was an unreasonable request,” he said.

Commissioners, he said, do not intend to withhold county funding from the library.

He said he supports all constituents, including those in the LGBTQ community.

Mirabito said he only wishes everyone can listen and understand each other.

“I heard a lot of people say, ‘It’s who I am,'” he said. “The reality is, we have to live together.”

He said he remains hopeful when conversation occurs even if strong feelings emerge in the process.

“I don’t think my colleagues are looking to defund the library,” he said.

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