Republican nominee for New Jersey governor, Jack Ciattarelli said he would “roll back” the LGBTQ curriculum in the state’s schools. The nominee also expressed on a video at a campaign stop last month he will not have kindergartners learn about “gender ID and sexual orientation” and sixth-graders about “sodomy.”
As reported by nj.com, Ciattarelli, a former member of the state Assembly, made the comments during an appearance at a Flemington gun store June 26, telling the crowd he feels “lucky” his children are in their 20s and he doesn’t “have to be dealing with what you’re dealing with right now.”
“You won’t have to deal with it when I’m governor (because) we’re not teaching gender ID and sexual orientation to kindergarteners,” he added. “We’re not teaching sodomy in sixth grade. And we’re going to roll back the LGBTQ curriculum. It goes too far.”
Ciattarelli´s remarks come after the Democratic-controlled New Jersey Legislature passed a pair of bills that Murphy signed into law in recent years related to the teaching of sexual identity in schools. Republican lawmakers and Christian advocates opposed both laws.
One of them requires all schools in the state beginning in the fall to include instruction on diversity and inclusion, including gender and sexual orientation. The other, requires boards of education in the state include instruction that accurately portrays “political, economic, and social contributions of persons with disabilities and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people.”
Reactions to his controversial remarks were immediate. They were quickly denounced by gay-rights advocates and supporters of Gov. Phil Murphy. Christian Fuscarino, executive director of Garden State Equality, New Jersey’s leading gay-rights group, called Ciattarelli’s comments “offensive,” “uninformed” and “out-of-touch with New Jersey family values of love, acceptance, and compassion.”
Inclusion saves lives
Fuscarino underlined the important roles played by LGBTQ people during the historical developments. “Our state classrooms educate students about the pivotal contributions of LGBTQ people in history despite the persecution and barriers they faced,” Fuscarino told NJ Advance Media.
”Teaching LGBTQ inclusive lessons reduces the rates of bullying in schools and can save lives,” he added. “At a time when suicide and bullying rates among LGBTQ youth are still at alarming levels, we deserve elected leaders who will prioritize inclusion, not pander to far-right ideologues.”
Ciattatrelli told WNYC his use of the word sodomy had “absolutely nothing to do with someone’s sexual orientation and the inference that it does is purposefully misleading. Read my statement,” he added. “It has to do with mature content being taught to young children. That is a parent’s job, not the school district’s.”
“We should not, however, encourage the abdication of parenting or expect teachers to replace parents,” he said.
Fight for full equality
When Ciattarelli was in the Assembly, he voted against legalizing same-sex marriage in New Jersey and voted for a ban on gay-conversion therapy in the state.
Murphy, meanwhile, has the support of a coalition of LGBTQ leaders in New Jersey who endorsed him for re-election in February, saying they know he will “continue to fight for full equality for all our residents.”