A New Jersey gubernatorial candidate has come under fire for claiming that public schools in the state are teaching “sodomy” to sixth-graders.
Former Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli (R) was caught on camera making the outlandish claims to a crowd at the Tactical Training Center gun store.
He said he feels “lucky” that his kids are no longer in grade school and “I don’t have to deal with what you’re dealing with right now.”
“When I’m governor you won’t have to deal with it, but we don’t teach gender ID and sexual orientation to kindergartens,” he said. “In the sixth grade, we don’t teach sodomy. And we’re going to push back on the LGBTQ curriculum. It goes too far.”
Ciattarelli was referring to a 2019 law that required schools to acknowledge “the political, economic and social contributions of individuals who are [LGBT].” The law also required schools to do more to fight anti-LGBTQ bullying.
State law similarly requires schools to teach about other historically oppressed groups, so this isn’t completely new for the state. Still, New Jersey and California are the only two states that require schools to teach about LGBTQ people.
The law, though, does not require schools to teach about “sodomy.”
Garden State Equality Executive Director Christian Fuscarino noted that it’s strange that Ciattarelli used the word “sodomy,” an old term with Biblical origins that describes various sexual acts, as if he were “speaking to a specific group of people in code or signaling virtues.”
“He says more clearly that he wants to reverse some of the progress the LGBTQ community has made,” Fuscarino told the LA Blade. “We’ve seen enough of that at the federal level over the last four years with the Trump administration.”
Ciattarelli recently made headlines for speaking at a “Stop the Steal” rally this past December, an event for people who falsely believe that President Joe Biden and the Democratic Party orchestrated a multi-state secret plot to steal millions of votes from Donald Trump.
The conspiracy theory eventually led to rightwing protestors staging an insurrection at the Capitol on January 6, 2021 in an attempt to overturn the election results and institute Trump as president. Ciattarelli blamed “political leaders in both parties share responsibility for the hyper-partisan rhetoric that inflamed it” instead of the people who promoted conspiracy theories leading up to the riots.