Jonathan Edwards at WP:
In June, two librarians put up two rainbow-colored displays near the entrance of the public library in Sterling, Kan. — their way of celebrating autism and neurodiversity, according to a recently filed lawsuit.
In one, the rainbow colors formed an infinity symbol broken up only by a heart and accompanied by the words “We all think differently.” The other was a rainbow scarf adorned with the silhouette of a child in a wheelchair reaching out to the words “In diversity is beauty and strength.”
The librarians say they were fired after a library board member complained the display promoted an “LGBTQ agenda.”
On Tuesday, the two former librarians filed a lawsuit alleging that the Sterling Free Public Library’s eight-member board, the city of Sterling and its mayor violated their rights to free speech. In a 30-page complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for Kansas, Kari Wheeler and Brandy Lancaster accused one of the board members, Michelle Miller, of waging an illegal campaign to censor their pro-autism displays because she mistakenly thought they were promoting “LGBTQ agendas.”
The lawsuit argues that Sterling library patrons "are entitled to a library that embraces a range of viewpoints, not just the viewpoints of those with an aversion to rainbow colors and a disdain for LGBTQ citizens."
The federal lawsuit filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Kansas City accuses the library and city leaders of retaliation against the expression of First Amendment rights, viewpoint discrimination, violating due process rights, equal protection violations and violating the Kansas Open Records Act.