NEW YORK, April 26 (UPI) -- New York library officials say patrons viewing Internet "adult content that is legal" on computers at city libraries is protected by the First Amendment.
Library officials said the First Amendment right to free speech allows library visitors using the Internet at the more than 200 library branches in the city to view whatever they want online, including hardcore pornography, the New York Post reported Monday.
"Customers can watch whatever they want on the computer," Brooklyn Public Library spokeswoman Malika Granville said.
Some religious leaders are speaking out against the policy.
"What they're doing is publicly funding an appetite for the most debased fare available," said Catholic League President Bill Donohue. "It's not like a Playboy centerfold anymore -- it's far worse."
Library patron Daisy Nazario, 60, said she opposes the policy after she discovered an elderly man sitting next to her at a library branch was viewing Internet pornography.
Nazario said the privacy shields at the side of the computers protected her from seeing the images "but I could still hear the voices."
New York Public Library spokeswoman Angela Montefinise said limits will not be placed on Internet viewing.
"In deference to the First Amendment protecting freedom of speech, the New York Public Library cannot prevent adult patrons from accessing adult content that is legal," she said.