• Instinct Magazine: The Urban Bear event in NYC (above) came roaring back after being cancelled last year. The event has grown from a picnic of 12 people in Central Park to an internationally acclaimed gathering of thousands celebrating the LGBTQ+ Bear community and all who embrace diversity, acceptance, and body positivity. Continue reading “News Round-Up: September 20, 2021”
Jack Ciattarelli, the Republican candidate for New Jersey Governor, promised potential supporters during a campaign appearance that if elected he would put a stop to the LGBTQ curriculum currently being taught in schools.
Ciattarelli made the remarks while visiting a gun range on June 26. Video of the comments were released on Tuesday, July 13, by The Gothamist.
“I feel lucky [our kids] are in their 20s and I don’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, but we’re not teaching gender ID and sexual orientation to kindergarteners. We’re not teaching sodomy in sixth grade. And we’re going to roll back the LGBTQ curriculum. It goes too far.”
First, kindergarteners are not being “taught” sexual orientation. A law recently passed in the state, Assembly Bill 4454, “requires school districts to include instruction on diversity and inclusion” beginning this fall for students in kindergarten through 12th grade.
A second law, Senate Bill 1569, requires instructional materials “that accurately portray political, economic, and social contributions of persons with disabilities and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people.”
“Sodomy” is defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary as “anal or oral copulation with a member of the same or opposite sex.” But, it’s often used as ‘code’ to equate LGBTQ people with deviancy.
Ciattarelli was asked about his use of the word.
The candidate said in a statement that it had “absolutely nothing to do with someone’s sexual orientation and the inference that it does is purposefully misleading.” He added, “Read my statement. It has to do with mature content being taught to young children. That is a parent’s job, not the school district’s.”
I don’t think the Republican picked the word “sodomy” to reference all kinds of “mature content.” And I’m not alone.
Jack Ciattarelli, the GOP nominee for governor in New Jersey, is vowing to roll back school curricula that centers LGTBQ inclusivity, falsely claiming that “sexual orientation” is being taught to kindergarteners and sixth graders are learning “sodomy.” https://t.co/oMxmw3u32A
Christian Fuscarino, executive director of Garden State Equality, told The Gothamist that Ciattarelli’s use of the word sounded as if he was “speaking in code or virtue-signaling to a very specific group of people.”
“He goes on to say more bluntly that he wants to roll back some of the progress the LGTBQ community has made,” added Fuscarino. “We’ve seen enough of that at the federal level the last four years with the Trump administration.”
Ciattarelli’s hate does not represent Jersey. His offensive comments are out-of-touch with Jersey values – love, acceptance and compassion. Our state classrooms educate students about the pivotal contributions of LGBTQ people in history despite the persecution they faced.
Teaching LGBTQ inclusive lessons reduces the rates of bullying in schools and can save lives. 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.
Ciattarelli’s opponent in November will be the current governor, Democrat Phil Murphy. Murphy, a longtime ally to the LGBTQ community, has received support and endorsements from several LGTBQ advocates and leaders in the Garden State.
The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal by anti-LGBTQ florist Barronelle Stutzman of Washington state who refused to sell flowers to a same-sex couple for their wedding.
Stutzman’s petition is listed on Friday’s orders list indicating the high court had denied certiorari, or refused to take up the case. No reason was given although the orders note that Justice Thomas, Justice Alito, and Justice Gorsuch would have granted the petition to hear the case. In the Supreme Court, at least four justices have to agree to take up a case.
The decision means the ruling by the Washington Supreme Court will stand.
The sad story began in 2013 when Rob Ingersoll and Curt Freed, longtime customers of Arlene’s Flowers owned by Stutzman, approached the florist for flowers for their dream wedding. Stutzman refused claiming doing so would violate her religious beliefs.
In 2017, the case had made its way up to the Washington state high court which ruled Stutzman had violated the state’s anti-discrimination laws which prohibit discrimination against LGBTQ people in public accommodations. The florist was ordered to pay a $1,000 fine.
Stutzman appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court in 2018 wherein SCOTUS vacated the lower court’s decision and asked the Washington court to review the case in light of a narrow ruling in the case of Jack Phillips, owner of the Colorado bakery Masterpiece Cakeshop.
A year later, in June 2019, the Washington Supreme Court reaffirmed its decision finding there had been no animosity involved against Stutzman in the original ruling.
Today’s decision is the end of the road in terms of legal options for Stutzman.
The Supreme Court is once again effectively saying that non-discrimination laws protecting LGBTQ people can stand.
“After Curt and I were turned away from our local flower shop, we cancelled the plans for our dream wedding because we were afraid it would happen again. We had a small ceremony at home instead,” Ingersoll told ABC News in a statement. “We hope this decision sends a message to other LGBTQ people that no one should have to experience the hurt that we did.”
Alphonso David, president of Human Rights Campaign, said in a statement, “The Supreme Court has once again said that critical nondiscrimination laws protecting LGBTQ people are legally enforceable and has set a strong and definitive precedent.”
Kristen Waggoner, general counsel for the virulently anti-LGBTQ legal organization Alliance Defending Freedom, called the U.S. Supreme Court’s refusal to hear the case “tragic.”
So ends the saga of Barronelle Stutzman, who the hate group ADF has been fundraising off for the better part of a decade.
She lost before *and* after Masterpiece Cakeshop in the lower courts. LGBTQ nondiscrimination protections aren't going to be totally overturned this week. https://t.co/y8pLVIyYHl
This is the third high profile LGBTQ-related case addressed by the Supreme Court.
In June, SCOTUS issued a unanimous but very narrow ruling in favor of Catholic Social Services (CSS) in Philadelphia which had refused to certify same-sex couples who applied to become foster parents.
The ruling was not the broad ‘license to discriminate’ anti-LGBTQ advocates had hoped for. Instead, the justices found in favor of CSS because the city hadn’t applied its own policy of exemptions uniformly. The decision only applies to CSS and its contract with Philadelphia.
And earlier this week, SCOTUS also rejected to hear an appeal by a Virginia school board seeking ban transgender students from using bathrooms that align with their gender identity. That decision sets precedent regarding restroom discrimination in schools in at least five states.