As of Jan. 10, more than 7,000 New Jerseyans have signed a petition urging Gov. Phil Murphy to overturn a law requiring public schools in New Jersey to participate in an “LGBTQ-inclusive curriculum.”
“As Governor of New Jersey, you represent everyone,” the petition reads. “At the very least, this law needs to be amended to include an opt-out option for parents who have moral and religious objections to this radical and controversial classroom content.”
The legislation, signed into law by Murphy last January, requires 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 has no provision that allows for parents to opt out.
New Jersey became the second state in the nation, following California, to pass a law requiring public schools to teach about LGBTQ history.
During a parental rights conference hosted by grassroots pro-family group Protect Your Children on Jan. 4, Kathy Goldenberg, president of the New Jersey State Board of Education, told parents that the state board had no authority to make any policy changes with regard to the curriculum.
“The law was enacted by the state Legislature,” she said. “It did not grant the board a policymaking role with this law.”
A pilot program developed by Garden State Equality—New Jersey’s largest LGBTQ advocacy and education organization—went into effect on Jan. 7 in 12 of the state’s public schools, with all middle and high schools in the state expected to follow suit by fall of this year.
“We want to be clear. We care about each and every child, and we support and defend equality,” Victoria Jakelsky, state director of Protect Your Children, told The Daily Signal. “[But] we are highly concerned that the LGBTQ history will teach lifestyles and life choices that stand 100% against our family values, our deeply held religious views and the way we practice our faith.”
The petition, created by Family Policy Alliance of New Jersey, states that the law is a “clear violation of the religious liberties of public school families.”
“This law violates the fundamental and constitutional rights of parents to direct the moral and educational upbringing of their children,” the petition says. “It was written with no protections for families—families cannot opt their child out of the content for any reason, not even if they have religious or moral objections.”
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