Republican mayor claims LGBT education is ‘an affront to almighty God’
The Republican mayor of a New Jersey town has vowed to resist a law requiring schools to teach children that gay people exist.
The comments on Tuesday (August 6) come from Alfonso Cirulli, the Mayor of Barnegat Township, which has a population of 22,000.
Cirulli hit out at the law signed by the state’s Democratic Governor Phil Murphy in January, which requires schools to include “sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability and religion” in anti-bullying lessons and reflect “the political, economic and social contributions” of different groups in history.
Republican mayor calls for ‘righteous’ to resist LGBT+ education
According to local newspaper Asbury Park Press, the mayor claimed: “The government has no right to teach our kids morality… we’ve crossed over the line into absurdity.
“Now is the time for the righteous to stand up for their rights.”
He described the law as “an affront to almighty God,” and urged residents to call for its reversal.
The requirements for inclusive education do not come into effect until the 2020-21 school year.
Democrat Peggy A. Houle accused the mayor of “misusing and abusing” his power.
The mayor responded: “There is no hate or bigotry intended here.
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“Everyone has a right to live his or her life the way they want to, but no group has a right to force others to comply with their beliefs.”
‘Deeply troubling’ comments condemned
New Jersey LGBT+ group Garden State Equality told Asbury Park Press that it was “deeply troubling” that the official is “opposed to building an inclusive and affirming environment for LBGTQ youth.”
Spokesperson Jon Oliveira said: “You cannot opt out of LGBTQ-inclusive curriculum just like you cannot opt out of science or black history simply because of ill-informed or close-minded personal beliefs.
“LGBTQ history is a part of American history, and to hide or misrepresent who, how, and why we are here today means students would otherwise be learning fiction.”
The group had lobbied for the law, explaining: “Our youth will learn about towering figures like two of New Jersey’s own: Babs Siperstein, a transgender equality pioneer, and Marsha P. Johnson, who ignited the Stonewall Riots.
“Students will also learn about Harvey Milk, one of the first openly gay elected officials in America, and Bayard Rustin, Martin Luther King’s closest adviser who organized the March on Washington. And there’s countless more.
“We know how expensive and resource-intensive it can be to develop curriculum for any subject, so Garden State Equality and Make It Better for Youth are partnering to develop a robust curriculum that we will be offering to schools across the state—at no cost.”