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07/02/2014

Video: Man challenging marriage equality in Wisconsin once vowed to burn pro-gay book

by Jeremy Hooper

Wisconsin resident Robert Braun has become the far-right's latest hero for his efforts to stop marriage equality from taking hold in his home state. Here's the Christian Bible network's report on his actions:

So who is Robert Braun? Oh, glad you asked. Because he's actually made news before—for filing a complaint in which he literally called for the burning of a book, Baby Be-Bop by Francesca Lia Block, about a teen boy's struggle to accept his homosexuality. Here's a CNN report from 2009:

(CNN) -- A fight over books depicting sex and homosexuality has riled up a small Wisconsin city, cost some library board members their positions and prompted a call for a public book burning.
...
Outside West Bend, the fight caught the attention of Robert Braun, who, with three other Milwaukee-area men, filed a claim against West Bend calling for one of the library's books to be publicly burned, along with financial damages.

The four plaintiffs -- who describe themselves as "elderly" in their complaint --- claim their "mental and emotional well-being was damaged by [the] book at the library."

The claim, unconnected to the Maziarkas, says the book "Baby Be-bop" -- a fictional piece about a homosexual teenager -- is "explicitly vulgar, racial and anti-Christian."

Braun, who says he is president of a Milwaukee group called the Christian Civil Liberties Union, said he singled out the book because it "goes way over the line" with offensive language and descriptions of sex acts.

The call for burning the book showed his passion, Braun, 74, said. "I don't sit on the fence when I do these things. When I make a decision to speak up on something, I go for it."
FULL: Library fight riles up city, leads to book-burning demand [CNN]

And here is Mr. Braun's testimony from back then:

(*note: the book, whose title he misstates, reportedly doesn't include the phrases he claimed it did)

He also made a big point, at the time, in insisting that one of the people who joined him in this fiery call is a "former homosexual." You can hear more in Alan Colmes' 2009 radio interview with Braun.

Long story short, while I'm not sure how the Wisconsin fight will play out, I'm not too terribly worried about Mr. Braun's personal fight against us. What's he going to do, burn the marriage licenses?

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