Connect with us

Politics

LGBTQ GOP group endorses anti-LGBTQ gubernatorial candidate in NJ

Ciattarelli has vowed to roll back LGBTQ+ inclusive curriculum in the Garden State’s primary and secondary public schools

Published

on

Former state Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli speaking to a crowd of supporters in this undated Twitter Profile picture. ( Twitter of Jack Ciattarelli)

NEWARK – As voters nationwide head to the polls to in this off year election cycle, two critically watched governor’s races with nationwide political implications for the Democrats in Virginia and New Jersey also have LGBTQ+ rights in the spotlight.

In New Jersey, Republican gubernatorial candidate, former state Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli, has vowed to roll back LGBTQ+ inclusive curriculum in the Garden State’s primary and secondary public schools.

In a series of tweets on Monday, the Log Cabin Republicans of New Jersey chapter gave their endorsement of Ciattarelli.

If #NewJersey is truly to be LGBT-friendly, we need a governor who respects freedom and opportunity and allows us to live our lives without government getting in the way. That is only attainable with @Jack4NJ at the helm,” the group tweeted.

The group then took aim at the incumbent, Democratic Governor Phil Murphy who is running for another term:

@Jack4NJ has a strong history of serving the #GardenState from his time in the general assembly and as a small business owner. Unlike Phil Murphy, who sells out to his friends on Wall Street, Jack Ciattarelli’s loyalties lie with Main Street and working families.”

Apparently also endorsing Ciattarelli’s anti-LGBTQ schools curriculum , the group noted:

#NewJersey needs a warrior against the insane mask mandates and ridiculous sexualized and politicized curriculum that is taking over our schools; our state needs a leader who will say no to mandates and lockdowns and respect New Jerseyans freedoms.”

Christian Fuscarino, the executive director of Garden State Equality, said Ciattarelli’s use of the word “sodomy” sounded as if it were “speaking to a specific group of people in code or signaling virtues.” Fuscarino added: “He says more clearly that he wants to reverse some of the progress the LGBTQ community has made. We’ve seen enough of that at the federal level over the last four years with the Trump administration.”

New Jersey in 2019 became the second state in the nation after California to adopt a law that requires schools to teach about LGBTQ history in a move hailed by civil rights groups as a step toward inclusion and fairness.

In New Jersey, there are now laws to address sexual orientation and schooling. There are also requirements to provide information on diversity and inclusion, including gender and sexual orientation. While the law requires LGBTQ inclusive curriculum, administration and oversight is at the discretion of the individual school districts to determine how it is implemented.

The law has provisions for instruction for all of the state’s high school students that explains “the political, economic, and social contributions of people with disabilities and lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgender people.” This is intended to reduce the bullying suffered by LGBTQ students and those with LGBTQ parents in schools.

By teaching about lesbian, gay, transgender and bisexual communities in schools, students will feel more connected, which will help their mental health and ability to learn, Kathryn Dixon, Northern New Jersey policy coordinator for GLSEN told the New Jersey Star-Ledger in an interview in 2019 after the law was signed by Democratic Governor Phil Murphy. “It fosters respect and connectivity and develops a culture and climate where everyone feels safe,” she said.

The lessons shouldn’t be confined to the history of the gay rights movement, Dixon added. Rather, schools should also include everyday examples of LGBT individuals and families across subjects. 

Political non-partisan website Insider NJ noted this past spring that “Assemblyman Ciattarelli has a history of embracing Trumpian far-right ideology, including maskless gladhanding, a featured speaking role at a “Stop the Steal” rally, and Jim Crow-era voter disenfranchisement.”

Continue Reading
Advertisement

California Politics

Kick Big Tobacco OUT of California Political Campaigns launches

Published

on

Los Angeles Blade graphic

LOS ANGELES — The OUT Against Big Tobacco coalition supported by Equality California Institute launched a pledge last week urging California legislators and candidates to voluntarily refuse campaign contributions from the tobacco industry.

A total of sixteen legislators and candidates have taken the pledge thus far, with more expected to sign on as the 2022 campaign season gets underway.

The pledge was launched in conjunction with the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout, a national day in recognition of tobacco users who are looking to quit tobacco for good. LGBTQ+ people are more than TWICE as likely to smoke as our non-LGBTQ+ peers, and nearly 30,000 LGBTQ+ people across the country die every year of tobacco-related causes.

Initial signers of OUT Against Big Tobacco’s pledge not to take tobacco industry campaign contributions include:

  • Senator Lena Gonzalez (D-Long Beach)
  • Senator Dave Min (D-Irvine)
  • Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco)
  • Assemblymember Sabrina Cervantes (D-Corona) 
  • Assemblymember Tasha Boerner Horvath (D-Encinitas)
  • Assemblymember Cottie Petrie-Norris (D-Laguna Beach)
  • Annie Cho, candidate for Assembly District 38
  • Supervisor Matt Haney, candidate for Assembly District 17
  • Daniel Hertzberg, candidate for Senate District 18
  • Mayor Christy Holstege, candidate for Assembly District 42
  • Bilal Mahmood, candidate for Assembly District 17
  • Mayor Lily Mei, candidate for Senate District 10
  • Caroline Menjivar, candidate for Senate District 18 
  • Andrea Rosenthal, candidate for Assembly District 36
  • Rick Chavez Zbur, candidate for Assembly District 50

“For decades, Big Tobacco has used their profits to place themselves as friends of our community. This year we are kicking them OUT; out of our Pride, out of our organizations, and out of our politics,” said Equality California Program Manager, Dr. Shannon Kozlovich. “We are calling all 2022 California State legislative candidates to stand with us and pledge to run tobacco free campaigns.

“The tobacco industry is killing our children, killing people of color, killing people that have underlying health conditions. We have to take a stand by not accepting tobacco contributions!” said Senator Lena Gonzalez.

In California’s 2020 Senate and Assembly election cycle, tobacco companies spent $6 million on campaign contributions, while spending millions more lobbying against legislation to prohibit the sale of flavored tobacco products — products disproportionately targeted towards LGBTQ+ people, people of color and our young people. 

“The tobacco industry serves no purpose other than to make people sick. Tobacco money is not essential for people to win” states Senator Scott Wiener. 

Continue Reading

California Politics

California voters in a new poll say society will completely break down

QUESTION: Agree or disagree: I am worried that a complete breakdown in American society could happen in my lifetime

Published

on

Graphic courtesy of Probolsky Research

NEWPORT BEACH – A new poll released last Thursday by Probolsky Research found that a near majority of California voters think that a complete breakdown in American society could happen in the next couple of decades or so where no one shows up to work, armed mobs roam the streets, and the government cannot continue to operate.

QUESTION: Agree or disagree: I am worried that a complete breakdown in American society could happen in my lifetime where no one shows up to work, armed mobs roam the streets, and the government cannot continue to operate.

The results are even more dramatic among Republicans, 69% of whom say they are worried, and those fifty and older who say American society is on the brink. Black voters too.

Full majorities in Los Angeles County, the Central Valley and Northern California also believe Californians are doomed, as do a majority of those who prefer to speak Spanish.

The multi-mode poll was conducted by telephone and online among 900 California voters from November 12 – 18, 2021. A survey of this size yields a margin of error of +/-3.3% and a 95% confidence level. This survey question was not sponsored by a third party, the results are being released for public interest.

Probolsky Research which conducted the poll is a non-partisan Latina- and woman-owned research firm with corporate, election, government, and non-profit clients.

Continue Reading

California Politics

Assembly Speaker strips Evan Low of committee chair- no reason stated

Speaker Anthony Rendon under fire from LGBTQ, diversity groups for sidelining one of California’s top gay legislators

Published

on

Assemblymember Evan Low (Screenshot via KGO-TV 7 ABC News Bay Area)

SACRAMENTO – The Speaker of the California Assembly Anthony Rendon (D-Los Angeles)  abruptly stripped Assemblymember Evan Low (D-Campbell) of both of his positions as chairman and member of the Assembly’s Business and Professions Committee Wednesday without a stated reason.

In a letter to Sue Parker, the Chief Clerk of the Assembly, Rendon named Assemblymember Marc Berman (D-Palo Alto) as Low’s replacement without explanation. Low, who has served as chair of the committee for the past five legislative sessions, offered no direct comment instead stating in a release via his office; “It has been an honor to serve as chair of the Assembly’s Business and Professions Committee, where my colleagues and I crafted legislation to help small businesses, combat the opioid crisis, implement a system to regulate legal cannabis, and work with Governor Newsom to protect patients and health professionals during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Low serves as Chair of the California Legislative LGBTQ Caucus and Vice Chair of the California API Legislative Caucus, his removal brought immediate condemnation from groups aligned with those marginalised communities.

We are deeply disappointed to see Assemblymember Low removed as Chair of the Assembly Business and Professions Committee without any explanation. At a time when the API community faces a surge in hate, violence and discrimination, and state legislatures across the country relentlessly attack the LGBTQ+ community, Assemblymember Low has provided critical representation for our communities in Sacramento,” Equality California said in a statement. “He has chaired the B&P Committee for the last five years with policy-driven and solution-oriented leadership. Removing Assemblymember Low as chair is an unfortunate example of people of color — especially API people — being sidelined from leadership roles despite demonstrated success and a commitment to strengthening and diversifying the Legislature.”

The Washington D.C. based non-profit OCA-Asian Pacific American Advocates, a 48 year-old group that has chapters in all 50 states, dedicated to advancing the social, political, and economic well-being of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, tweeted their displeasure:

Assembly sources told the Blade over the past two days that Rendon’s actions appear to be politically driven retaliation stemming from several factions who had approached Low to campaign for the Speaker’s gavel this past summer, unhappy with Rendon’s handling of the legislative calendar as well as his handling of certain matters on the Democratic agenda.

One source pointed out that “stripping him [Low] of his chair was ridiculous and a petty move that smacked of revenge on the Speaker’s part given that he [Low] has held a personal fundraiser for Rendon and raised $120 thousand for the Speaker.”

A legislative staffer speaking to the Blade on background Friday said that the optics of the Speaker’s action was terrible. “You remove the gay lawmaker who heads the LGBT caucus and vice-chairs the Asian-PI caucus without reason? Look its clearly revenge- but Evan told those people he wasn’t going to do an end run on the Speaker and he didn’t.”

“Speaker Rendon has the right to replace any committee chair, but he also has the responsibility to explain why. To remove Evan Low – the only out LGBTQ AAPI committee chair in the Assembly – from his position without explanation is problematic, especially with no other LGBTQ people serving as chairs. At a time when the LGBTQ community and the AAPI community face increasing harm, we need more bold leadership like Evan Low’s, not less.”

Annise Parker, LGBTQ Victory Institute President & CEO

Movement is afoot inside Assembly circles as disbelief is turning to anger. Another source speaking to the Blade on background said that the Speaker’s action looks like it will backfire. “I’ve heard that some are saying they will go on the record in the next week- and some are really pissed off. He’s [Rendon] annoyed the Black caucus, now the Asian caucus- the people thinking about to go on the record, that momentum is building.”

The Speaker is not commenting nor making public statements as of Friday. One source told the Blade that a prominent non-profit leader had texted Rendon expressing grave concerns over what appeared to be a capricious move in removing Low and received no answer other than “Message received.”

One of oldest LGBTQ non-profit political groups, The Bay Area Municipal Elections Committee (BAYMEC) a four-county LGBTQ political action committee (PAC) which has been advocating for the civil rights of LGBTQ people since 1984 in the central coast counties of San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, and Monterey, took to Twitter expressing its outrage.

The Bay Area Reporter noted that the Sacramento Bee first reported about Low being stripped of his chairmanship. His being removed means he no longer chairs any committees, as per Assembly rules its members are only given one chairmanship per legislative session. Low remains a member of the communications and conveyance; elections; governmental organization; and higher education committees.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement

Follow Us @LosAngelesBlade

Sign Up for Blade eBlasts

Popular