LGBT activists mourn the death of John Adler

354
Former NJ Congressman John Adler

Former NJ Congressman John AdlerFormer southern New Jersey Congressman John Adler has died at the age of 51. He was a longtime friend of the LGBT community in New Jersey said Garden State Equality chair Stephen Goldstein in a mournfull email late last night, “It is impossible to overstate John’s importance as an all-time hero to our movement for equality. Basically all LGBT civil rights bills in New Jersey go through the Senate Judiciary Committee. As Chairman of that Committee,” he said, “John was not only the gatekeeper of our future, but also the successful guarantor.”

John Adler was a longtime state senator who served one term in Congress before he lost a re-election bid last year. Before serving in Congress Adler served in the New Jersey State Senate for two decades.  He served as chair of the Judiciary Committee before being elected to Congress in 2008. He partnered with GSE to author or co-author with State Senator Loretta Weinberg many of the LGBT civil rights laws that have been enacted in New Jersey since 2004.

Steven Goldstein

Steven Goldstein says to honor the service of John Adler GSE is naming a new award after him.

He had been in the hospital for the last month after contracting a staph infection. He leaves behind his wife Shelley, whom he met at Harvard Law School, and their four sons, Jeffrey, Alex, Andrew, and Oliver.

Goldstein said, “John was one of the most important champions of LGBT civil rights who has ever held public office in New Jersey.

Under John Adler’s state Judiciary Committee chairmanship and as a legislator in Trenton he was instrumental in advancing most LGBT issues in the state. During his tenure as a state Senator in Trenton, the LGBT community went from a domestic partnership law to a civil unions law to fully inclusive anti-discrimination and hate crimes laws encompassing protection based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. All of those bills passed through his committee.

Goldstein reminded gay activists that when Adler voted for the New Jersey civil unions bill in 2006, he publicly stated he was holding his nose in doing so – that he believed only marriage equality met the constitutional standard of equal protection under the law.

“Prophetically, even before the civil union law took effect, John told us the civil union law would prove problematic in implementation and not provide equality. When the New Jersey Education Association tried to water down the transgender equality bill, John said, “Don’t worry, I’m not going to let it happen,” said Goldstein in his email to GSE members.

Goldstein says to honor the service of John Adler GSE is naming a new award after him. The first person to receive the new award will be Barbra Casbar Siperstein, an LGBT activist who focuses on the rights of transgendered people.

Former NJ Congressman John AdlerFormer southern New Jersey Congressman John Adler has died at the age of 51. He was a longtime friend of the LGBT community in New Jersey said Garden State Equality chair Stephen Goldstein in a mournfull email late last night, “It is impossible to overstate John’s importance as an all-time hero to our movement for equality. Basically all LGBT civil rights bills in New Jersey go through the Senate Judiciary Committee. As Chairman of that Committee,” he said, “John was not only the gatekeeper of our future, but also the successful guarantor.”