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2 Republicans seek to limit sales of books deemed 'obscene' to minors in Virginia Beach

Delegate and lawyer Tim Anderson of Virginia Beach requested a restraining order to limit sales and loans of "A Court of Mist and Fury" and "Gender Queer: A Memoir."
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Young woman reading book in library, closeup

NORFOLK, Va. — A Republican lawyer and elected official from Virginia Beach said he is looking to limit the sale of two books deemed "obscene" for minors.

Tim Anderson, who serves in the Virginia House of Delegates, requested a restraining order against retail bookseller Barnes & Noble and Virginia Beach City Public Schools to limit sales and loans of "A Court of Mist and Fury" and "Gender Queer: A Memoir" directly to children without parental consent.

The books in question contain sexually explicit scenes. "A Court of Mist and Fury" is a young adult fantasy novel written by Sarah J. Maas, while "Gender Queer" was written by Maia Kobabe as an autobiography about experiences being nonbinary and asexual. 

The latter was the No. 1 book on the American Library Association's top 10 most challenged books of 2021, due to LGBTQIA+ content and sexually explicit images.

The request was filed in Virginia Beach Circuit Court after retired Judge Pamela Baskervill found probable cause the books could qualify as obscene. Baskervill is handling the case after all judges within the circuit court recused themselves, according to court documents shared by Anderson.

Anderson requested the restraining order at the direction of Tommy Altman, a Republican congressional candidate, stating they're not looking to ban the books outright.

"We hope Barnes and Noble will do the right thing and identify there are sexually explicit books in its stores in Virginia Beach and take corrective action to restrict those books from sales to minors without further legal action being necessary," Anderson said in a statement.

The authors and publishers of these books can respond within 21 days after being notified of Baskervill's findings, which were released Wednesday, May 18.

Anderson made a social media post suggesting that legal challenges of this nature will go beyond Virginia Beach.

"We are in a major fight," Anderson said in a Facebook post. "Suits like this can be filed all over Virginia. There are dozens of books. Hundreds of schools."

13News Now reached out to the Democratic Party of Virginia for a comment on this situation. Democratic Virginia Del. Marcus Simon, who represents parts of Northern Virginia, accused Republicans of being "authoritarian bullies who want to control what you see, hear, learn and read."

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