The ACLU of Virginia and seven other free speech organizations have joined to urge a Senate of Virginia committee to reject a bill that would require parental notification and consent for any curricular materials containing any "sexually explicit" content.

A letter was sent today to Sen. Stephen Newman (R-Forest), chair of the Senate Committee on Education and Health, and copied to all members of that committee, stating that House Bill 2191, sponsored by Del. Steve Landes (R-Weyers Cave) would be an unconstitutional limit on free speech.

"Singling out books with sexual content for special scrutiny constitutes constitutionally impermissible content and viewpoint discrimination," the letter states. "The First Amendment prohibits agents of the state, including public school officials, from restricting or burdening access to books or ideas based on their content or viewpoint or because they are controversial, unpopular, or offensive."

The letter was jointly signed by representatives of the ACLU of Virginia, the National Coalition Against Censorship, the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, the National Council of Teachers and English, American Booksellers for Free Expression, the Free Expression Advocacy Association of American Publishers, the Authors Guild, and the Children's and Young Adult Book Committee of PEN America.