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New Jersey Mayor Calls LGBTQ Movement 'Affront to Almighty God'

Mayor Alfonso Cirulli
Screenshot of Mayor Alfonso Cirulli

A new state law requiring an LGBTQ-inclusive public school curriculum has Mayor Alfonso Cirulli's hackles up.

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A New Jersey mayor is launching a campaign against the state's law mandating an LGBTQ-inclusive curriculum in public schools, calling the LGBTQ equality movement "an affront to almighty God."

"Sometimes laws are introduced with the best intentions, but sometimes they go overboard. ... From my observation, we've crossed over the line into absurdity," Alfonso Cirulli, mayor of the town of Barnegat, said at a Township Committee meeting Tuesday, Jersey Shore Online reports.

Cirulli, a Republican and former school administrator, is objecting to a measure signed into law by Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy in January that requires middle schools and high schools 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." The law takes effect in the 2020-2021 school year, but Cirulli urged local school officials and faith leaders to fight it.

Cirulli said "sexual preference" is a choice and that the call for transgender rights denies the differences between men and women. Of LGBTQ activism as a whole, he said, "This political movement is an affront to almighty God with the intent of trying to completely eradicate God's law. ... The Bible tells us that they will try but not succeed, and pay the eternal price for their rebellion."

He also said the new curriculum law amounts to "teaching morality" to students, which he said is not the government's business -- while those who disagreed with him pointed out that that's exactly what he's trying to do. Every Township Committee meeting opens with a prayer by a local clergy member.

Several citizens attending the meeting voiced their differences with the mayor, while some agreed with his remarks. And Wayne Besen, executive director of the LGBTQ rights group Truth Wins Out, released a strong statement against Cirulli and discussed the matter on his podcast, The Wayne Besen Show.

"There is nothing absurd about teaching the truth and giving credit to LGBT people who have helped improve this country from the very beginning," Besen said in his statement. "What Cirulli is doing is unseemly. He is demanding that the government lie to students about reality. He is insisting that we build a giant closet that renders LGBT people invisible."

"The mayor doesn't have a problem with teaching morality -- as long as it's his backwater version of morality," Besen continued. "No hypocrisy or disconnect from reality here."

To Cirulli's assertion that "there is no hate or bigotry intended" in his remarks, Besen countered, "Cirulli is trying to ram his own personal sectarian beliefs down the throats of all New Jersey residents. And, yes, Mr. Mayor, trying to erase the contributions of an entire community is the very definition of bigotry." Besen added that the mayor should resign.

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Trudy Ring

Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.
Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.