Murphy Urged to Override Sexuality Lessons as Veto Deadline Looms
Parents, clergy, and legislators want Governor Murphy to protect kindergarten children from transgender identity lessons
TRENTON, N.J. (February 19, 2021) – Family Policy Alliance of New Jersey – a pro-family ministry – is urging Governor Murphy to veto Assembly bill 4454 before the 45-day deadline on Thursday, February 25. The bill was passed by the Assembly on January 11 and fell almost entirely along party lines with every Republican voting against the bill and every democrat voting in favor of the bill – except Assemblyman Jamel Holley (D-Union), voting against the bill.
Governor Murphy’s office has been inundated with over 16,000 emails in the past month as people across New Jersey urge him to veto it. This outcry was made possible by organic petitions started by faith communities and the action alert center of Family Policy Alliance of New Jersey.
Assembly bill 4454 requires school districts to include instruction on diversity and inclusion as part of implementation of New Jersey Student Learning Standards. Originally the bill only required sexual orientation and gender identity lessons starting in the ninth grade where it was limited to Health class. The Senate Education Committee amended the bill on December 7, 2020 to include school aged children as young as kindergarten.
Shawn Hyland, Executive Director of Family Policy Alliance of New Jersey, offered the following statement:
“This bill would require transgender and sexual orientation lessons be taught to children who are so young they are just learning to tie their shoes. This will only complicate and confuse their understanding of human sexuality. We strongly urge Governor Murphy to respect the rights of parents and let kids be kids. Discussions regarding various sexual attractions and subjective gender identities have no place in the kindergarten classroom.”
Legislators are also opposing the bill as they have heard the concerns of their constituents.
“The government does not have the right to impose a certain way of life or belief system onto our children, especially kindergarteners. These topics are being forced upon students to affirm and adopt these lifestyles, regardless of their individual religious beliefs. This is a very sensitive issue which should be addressed by parents and not schools, which is why we will continue to vote ‘no’ against this bill.”– Senator Jim Holzapfel and Assemblymen Greg McGuckin and John Catalano, District 10, Brick, NJ
“Over the past several months, our Delegation has been contacted by a number of constituents who are deeply and justifiably concerned about the harmful impact this legislation will have on children, families and schools. Teaching children, beginning in kindergarten, about sexual orientation as part of their school curriculum is irresponsible, inappropriate and misguided. This should be a responsibility of parents, not educators, as provisions of this legislation have no place in our schools.” – Senator Chris Connors, Assemblywomen DiAnne Gove, and Assemblyman Brian Rumpf, District 9, Forked River, NJ
“Government should never be a substitute for parents. Allowing four- and five-year-old’s to be taught things parents historically have protected their children from is wrong. The same government that caused commuters to have a six-to-eight-hour commute for a six-inch snow storm is now dictating what our children should or should not be exposed to in their early years.” – Senator Joe Pennacchio, District 27, Montville, NJ
“It is outrageous to foist concepts on school children as young as kindergarten that even many adults struggle to understand. Schools are supposed to be places of academics and scholarly pursuits which prepare students for college and eventually a place in the work world. Teachers are becoming overwhelmed with non-academic requirements, leaving less and less time for traditional learning. This bill once again would allow the state to usurp the duties of the parents. It is imperative that this bill be vetoed and return the duties of teaching morals where it belongs, with parents and clergy.” – Assemblyman Gerry Scharfenberger, District 13, Middletown
Parents and members of the clergy also offered statements on the bill:
“As a lifelong resident of NJ and a mother of five, I’m in shock of the overreach of legislators and what they are mandating on the most vulnerable – our children all under the guise of tolerance. I’m pleading with Governor Murphy to please veto Bill A4454! Teaching kindergarteners every form of sex and gender identities is child abuse! It’s sexualizing our babies and taking away my rights as a parent. I’ve had three children go through NJ public school system and two more young children rapidly approaching, however, if this is passed, I will be forced to find alternative education or even leave the state of NJ.” – Kelly Johnson, parent, Cape May, NJ
“The current legislation will unconstitutionally impact parent’s religious liberty rights. Given that I am a Muslim parent the Tourah, Injeel (Gospel) and Holy Quran teach the importance of worship to Allah’s creation. Women are honored within the Holy Quran and this legislation would disrespect Al Islam, growing children and parents’ constitutional rights. Violation of religious freedom is something parents across New Jersey’s Interfaith community must organize around to protect. – Che’ J.T. Colter, co-founder – We The Parents – Newark. NJ
“As a Latino Pastor and Hispanic leader, I feel that the sexualization of children at the age of 5 and 6 is totally inappropriate. Not only is this inappropriate but it’s very offense to our Latino culture, which is very conservative, sensitive and protective of our children. We ask that you please veto this inappropriate bill.” – Pastor Edward Ramirez, Harvest Outreach Ministries, Paterson, NJ
“Please veto the bill (A4454) that sits on your desk that mandates sexual orientation and gender identity diversity lessons starting in kindergarten! As a parent, a grandparent, a pastor, and an African-American, I am appalled that this bill has made it as far as your desk! I am totally opposed to the bill on faith, family, cultural, and educational grounds. From the perspective of my faith and culture, the topic of sexual orientation and gender identity is one for parents to handle with their children, not educators. I feel that the introduction of such topics is totally inappropriate for 5–6-year-old kindergarteners, and highly disrespectful of parental rights and freedom of religious expression.” – Pastor Kedrick Brown, Middletown, NJ
“As an orthodox priest of the Coptic Orthodox Church and scientist by training, I am extremely astonished by the lack of scientific understanding of child development, complete disregard to culture sensitivity and religious freedom in forcing an unprecedented curriculum on children who can’t discern at age 5 what eat and what to watch. We are the only State that is forcing these curriculums to such a level. The State of NJ is known for its diversity; thus, we must get everyone involved in the education of their children. We need to accommodate all people, allowing family values and structure be taught by parents. We urge Governor Murphy to veto this bill”. – Father Mina Dimitri, Saint Mary Coptic Orthodox Church, East Brunswick, NJ
Family Policy Alliance of New Jersey hopes Governor Murphy will respect the fundamental religious beliefs of millions of New Jersey citizens by vetoing A4454.