Barnegat Mayor is against LGBTQ history in schools

Map of Barnegat Township in Ocean County NJ
Map of Barnegat Township in Ocean County NJ

Alfonso Cirulli calls LGBTQ history an affront to God

Barnegat Township Mayor Alfonso Cirulli called on residents to oppose a New Jersey state law requiring schools to teach students about LGBTQ history and historical contributions. Cirulli, a Republican, called it “an affront to almighty God”.

Barnegat, NJ Mayor Alfonso Cirulli
Barnegat, NJ Mayor Alfonso Cirulli

The former assistant principal urged the people of Barnegat Township at a township committee meeting to pressure Governor Phil Murphy and the state Legislature to reverse the law, signed by Murphy on January 31. Cirulli claimed that the law violates the religious rights of parents, freedom of speech and essentially amounts to indoctrination of students. He went on to cite other progress in LGBTQ rights, such as the legalization of same-sex marriage, and said that God would hold politicians accountable for allowing those laws to pass.

“We’ve crossed the line into absurdity,” he said.

His statements, though echoed by Committeeman John J. Novak, were largely met with silence.

“This is a public forum where I felt like I was in church,” resident Bridget Nunn said during the meeting’s public forum section. “I understand that everyone is entitled to their belief and their religious ideas but what I have a problem with is when you bring them into a public forum. As public officials, you have to be careful about what message you’re sending to these kids I’m counseling, who are already in your schools feeling like they’re isolated, alone, and not getting the support they need.”

Jon Oliveria, director of communications for Garden State Equality, said that his organization worked with the Barnegat school district last year to implement guidance for transgender students. Two teachers from the district are also working with Garden State Equality to develop a LGBTQ curriculum.

“You cannot opt out of LGBTQ-inclusive curriculum just like you cannot opt out of science or black history simply because of ill-informed or close-minded personal beliefs,” Oliveira said in a statement. “LGBTQ history is a part of American history, and to hide or misrepresent who, how, and why we are here today means students would otherwise be learning fiction.”