Republican candidate for New Jersey Governor, Jack Ciattarelli, promised constituents that if elected he would put an end to the LGBTQ curriculum currently being taught in schools.
The comments were made while Ciattarelli was visiting a gun range on June 26, but the video was only made public on July 13, after being released 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," Ciatterelli says in the video. "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."
Christian Fuscarino, executive director of Garden State Equality, responded to the video, pointing specifically to Ciattarelli's use of the word "sodomy" in his remarks.
"[It sounds like he's] speaking in code or virtue-signaling to a very specific group of people," Fuscarino explained. "He goes on to say more bluntly that he wants to roll back some of the progress the LGTBQ community has made. We've seen enough of that at the federal level the last four years with the Trump administration."
In a statement to WNYC, Ciattarelli said that his reference to sodomy was not targeted at LGBTQ+ people. "[It has] absolutely nothing to do with someone's sexual orientation and the inference that it does is purposefully misleading," he said. "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."
Ciattarelli's rant comes on the heels of two laws having recently been passed in New Jersey that require greater inclusion in the curriculum. One law requires schools, beginning this fall, to "incorporate instruction on diversity and inclusion into ... the curriculum for students in kindergarten through [grade] 12." The second law, "requires boards of education to include instruction, and adopt instructional materials, that accurately portray political, economic, and social contributions of persons with disabilities and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people."
Ciattarelli is set to run against Democratic Governor Phil Murphy in November's election. Murphy is seen as an ally to the LGBTQ+ community and has received endorsements from dozens of prominent LGTBQ+ leaders in his state.