'Santa's Husband' children's book on display at Ridgeland Library
A children's book depicting Santa Claus as a gay man married to another man is part of a Christmas display at the Ridgeland Library.
Amazon says the book offers “a fresh twist on Kris Kringle, a clever yet heartfelt book that tells the story of a black Santa, his white husband, and their life in the North Pole.
“Everyone knows that Santa Claus is jolly, but in Santa’s Husband, this cherished symbol of the holiday season is also black and gay and married to an equally cheery man.”
The library display follows a controversy earlier this year about a “Queer Bible” book display that created a public outcry in Ridgeland.
The city of Ridgeland briefly withheld funding as the controversy was resolved.
“Santa’s Husband” is a children’s book written by Daniel Kibblesmith and illustrated by Ashley Perryman Quach. The 32-page book was published in October 2017.
In addition to “Santa’s Husband,” the current holiday display includes other Christmas books as well as books about the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah , which begins on Dec. 18, and the Muslim Holiday of Ramadan, which ran from April 2 to May 2.
The gay Santa book display follows the Queer Bible controversy that concluded in late August, with all three municipalities in the county signing stand-alone contracts with the Madison County Library Board.
The "Queer Bible" controversy erupted in January over a prominent display of LBGTQ+ books, including “The Queer Bible,” after Ridgeland citizens became upset.
City officials then discovered that a new contract had not been approved between the city and the library system since 2009, and officials withheld their regular contribution to the library system until a legitimate contract was approved.
In the meantime, Friends of The Ridgeland Library raised more than $110,000 online from LGBTQ+ supporters. As of March, about half of those funds had been disbursed.
The city entered into a new contract with the MCLS after discovering the 2009 contract was not valid. The 2022 contract was approved by the city board on April 11 and signed by McGee on April 12.
The expectation, McGee said, was that the April 2022 contract would be approved by the other participants in the MCLS, which are the county Board of Supervisors and the cities of Flora, Canton, Madison, and Ridgeland.
In early July, McGee said the city’s lawyers received an email from the MCLS lawyer, Robert Sanders, stating that it was “certain” not all entities would sign the 2022 contract and that “informal planning for the closure of the branch has already begun.”
Despite a lack of a valid contract, Ridgeland, which owns and maintains the building the library is housed in, has invested in the facility, including a roofing project that cost more than $50,000, and selected a new member to the library board.
Ridgeland officials signed the stand-alone contract on Aug. 22 and are up to date on payments to the MCLS.