A New Jersey mayor reportedly called the LGBTQ rights movement an “affront to almighty God” during a town hall meeting this week.
Barnegat Township Mayor Alfonso Cirulli said during a town hall meeting on Tuesday that a recently passed state law, which requires LGBTQ-inclusive material to be taught in public schools, “crossed over the line into absurdity,” adding that lawmakers “have no right to promote the LGBT agenda.”
“There is no hate or bigotry intended here,” Cirulli said, adding that his comments did not reflect the views of the Barnegat Township Committee, the southern shore town’s legislative body, CNN reported.
In a Wednesday letter posted on the Barnegat Township Schools website, Superintendent Brian Latwis said the district’s vision is to “meet the needs of each student,” and it plans to do “everything we can to navigate challenges and difficult situations with sensitivity to all members of this Barnegat family.”
“Every student is an individual,” the letter reads. “Our vision is to meet the needs of each student.”
Bridget Nunn, a mental health clinician, said, “I am someone who has counseled many adolescents who are transgender. I know the painstaking struggles that they and their family go through.”
“My opinion is that I think it should be taught in school,” said Ines Carvalho, whose daughter is about to enter fifth grade.
Resident Judy Cobb said, “I think it’s fine to be taught in schools. I think children should get a broad education and learn about what’s happening in today’s world.”
LGBTQ advocacy group Garden State Equality responded with the following statement: “It is deeply troubling that Barnegat’s Mayor is opposed to building an inclusive and affirming environment for LGBTQ youth, especially considering that Garden State Equality worked so closely with the school district to successfully implement transgender student guidance last year. Moreover, the Mayor’s views are in stark contrast to educators within the district, two of whom are contributing to our curriculum development.”
A spokesperson Governor Phil Murphy told ABC6, “Governor Murphy was honored to sign legislation making New Jersey the second state in our nation to ensure that the history of the LGBTQ+ fight for equality is enshrined in our public school curriculum. The Governor believes that teaching students about the significant contributions and diverse histories of our LGBTQ+ brothers and sisters will help build accepting and welcoming communities.”
New Jersey in January became the second state in the U.S., after California, to mandate LGBTQ-inclusive material in the public school curriculum.