A Moms for Liberty event featuring Kirk Cameron and Riley Gaines at the Madison Public Library was canceled by library officials due to capacity issues, but it now appears they may have had enough space all along.
A photo taken at the Madison Public Library on Thursday shows a sign listing the building's large multipurpose room, which Moms for Liberty had reserved for the "See You at the Library" event Saturday, according to member Sheila Banister, with a max occupancy of 361 people. That would more than cover the event's 250-350 expected attendees.
However, two newer signs, each with August 1 dates, were placed over the old sign, lowering the max capacity down to 300. Banister took the photo Thursday night during a Moms for Liberty meeting.
"We just noticed the new signage was put up on August 1, which was when the library started saying they weren't going to hold the event," she told 1819 News. "And I don't know if that is a coincidence or not. Maybe, maybe not. I think it's questionable."
Banister is also on the board of the Republican Women of Madison, and she said the city canceled the group's public forum last spring at the "last minute."
"My thing is, are we setting a precedent to shut down conservative events?" she said. "...I don't know if it's a coincidence or not, but I'll definitely be watching. It just seems a little shady… Just by knowing some of the people in the city, I'm not really sure if they're trying to squash speech as much as they just don't want to deal with any potential problems."
Regardless of possible capacity issues or security concerns, the event organizer and chair of the Madison County chapter of Moms for Liberty Emily Jones said she still plans for the reading event to occur as intended.
"I think based on everything experienced this week and the conversations I've had, it's more of a concern with the movement we're bringing to Huntsville…the Christian values, the traditional values that our community, our society has been lacking for such a long time, and we're bringing them back, and we're not backing down," she said Thursday on "Rightside Radio" with Phil Williams. "I think that intimidates and scares a lot of people and makes them uncomfortable."
Lindsay Booker, a TikTok influencer organizing a protest against the Moms for Liberty event, said in a recent video that she also intends to travel to Madison on Saturday. She and her followers plan to gather across the street from Moms for Liberty and hand out books to counteract the patriot and faith-based reading material at the library event.
First Liberty Institute, the law firm representing Kirk Cameron and his publisher Brave Books, is giving the library until noon Friday to reverse its decision and allow the event to proceed as planned.
"At this time, we are hopeful that the library will come to their senses and reverse their decision. We are still planning to be there on Saturday at 10 a.m.," Jones told 1819 News.
When asked what the police response would be if Moms for Liberty attempted to have the event against the library's wishes and if anyone would be physically removed from the premises, Police Chief Johnny Gandy said: "Our essential focus is to ensure the safety of all involved as well as to protect citizens' rights, to include their rights to 1st Amendment expression. However, we will be prepared to take any lawful action to protect persons and property in accordance with all state laws and local ordinances."
Editor's note: This article has been updated to clarify it was the city that canceled the Republican Women of Madison event in the spring, not the library.
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