A New Jersey mayor called the LGBTQ rights movement “an affront to almighty God” at a town council meeting and warned that people who support “unrighteous laws” will be held accountable.
Barnegat Township Mayor Alfonso Cirulli, a former assistant principal, began Tuesday by condemning a state law that requires LGBTQ-inclusive material be taught in public school. He said the law “crossed over the line into absurdity” and politicians “have no right to promote the LGBT agenda.”
He said, “There is no hate or bigotry intended here,” and that his comments did not represent the Barnegat Township Committee. Barnegat Township’s legislative body is called a committee. The town of about 20,000 is on New Jersey’s south shore.
CNN has reached out to Cirulli for comment.
In January, New Jersey followed California to become the second state in the country to require that public schools teach LGBTQ- and disability-inclusive curricula.
Cirulli also called out Garden State Equality, an LGBTQ advocacy organization that helped pass the bill. The group’s executive director Christian Fuscarino told CNN he spoke to Cirulli Wednesday.
“Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like he’s going to be changing his opinion anytime soon,” Fuscarino said.
Fuscarino said, however, that Garden State Equality has a “great working relationship” with the Barnegat school district and called Cirulli “an outlier.”
In a statement posted on its website, superintendent Dr. Brian Latwis wrote that the Barnegat Township School District would comply with state guidelines. He wrote that they “will do everything we can to navigate challenges and difficult situations with sensitivity to all members of this Barnegat family.”
Some community members complained to the police department about the mayor’s comments. And at the committee meeting, one woman said she “felt like we were in church just now,” saying an official’s personal beliefs don’t belong in a government forum.
“You can have a belief that two plus two equals five; it doesn’t make it correct,” she said.
Cirulli said he will try to repeal the law.