BANGOR – It’s an old rule that city officials didn’t even know was on the books, but now it’s getting removed for being discriminatory.
Bangor city officials say they’re working to get rid of the ordinance as quickly as possible. Written in the 1970’s, it includes homosexuality as a form of sexual conduct that cannot be shown in commercial displays. So it technically prohibits images of same sex couples kissing on the front covers of magazines.
It’s in a section of Bangor’s legal code that is rarely looked at.
“It was just brought to the attention of the legal department by a member of our police department…it hasn’t been enforced, we didn’t even know it was on the books,” said Catherine Conlow, the Bangor City Manager.
Conlow said she believes this was originally intended more for magazines, but it could have applied to novels too.
“It was a fairly common thing, to make sure that when you walked into a convenience store that the covers to certain magazines if they showed explicit sexual material were covered,” said Conlow, of the time when the ordinance was written.
But officials say times have changed, and that this ordinance violates a newer one that prohibits discrimination of sexual orientation.
Bangor City Councilor Gibran Graham who also owns the book store, The Briar Patch, said it’s important for the LGBTQ community to have representation in art and literature.
And that this old rule does not reflect Bangor now.
“Who decides what is tasteful and what is not? You know, literature is important, and how literature is depicted and represented in a community is also important,” said Graham.
Again city officials don’t believe this ordinance was ever enforced. But they’re going to immediately remove homosexuality from the list of sexual conduct that cannot be shown on commercial displays, and then look at the ordinance as a whole to see what else can be updated.
“We’re happy to get rid of it,” said Conlow.