school daze

GOP candidate blasts LGBTQ curriculum: “We’re not teaching sodomy in sixth grade”

Republican candidate Jack Ciattarelli
Republican candidate Jack Ciattarelli (Photo: Twitter)

A Republican candidate for New Jersey Governor has suggested that if elected, he’d roll back LGBTQ-centered curriculum in schools.

Jack Ciattarelli made his comments at a gun range on June 26. A video of his speech was obtained and published this week by the Gothamist.

In the video, Ciatterelli says, “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.”

Related: Gay panic defense banned in New Jersey

There is no evidence of any sixth graders being taught about sodomy in school.

Approached for comment, Ciatterelli rubbished the notion that his use of the word “sodomy” was LGBTQ-related.

He said his comments had “absolutely nothing to do with someone’s sexual orientation and the inference that it does is purposefully misleading … It has to do with mature content being taught to young children. That is a parent’s job, not the school district’s.”

A local LGBTQ advocate, Christian Fuscarino, executive director of Garden State Equality, was unimpressed, telling Gothamist use of the word “sodomy’ sounded like Ciatterelli 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.”

Related: Marjorie Taylor Greene says talking about homosexuality in schools is “child abuse”

New Jersey recently passed a couple of laws regarding sexual orientation being talked about in schools. The first, effective from this fall, requires, “school districts … include instruction on diversity and inclusion as part of implementation of New Jersey Student Learning Standards.” This will include gender and sexual orientation.

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.” It’s up to school boards to decide how to do this.

Ciatterelli, a former member of the New Jersey General Assembly from the 16th district (2011–2018), goes up against Democratic Governor Phil Murphy in November’s election.