LGBTQ Democrats say progress was real in 2021 in New Jersey
Marriage equality and legislative redistribution of the map were crucial for LGBTQ for the future
“We are encouraged by the recent LGBTQ + progress in New Jersey that took place this week,” the Democratic LGBTQ caucus said in a statement in late December. “Two major wins include the approval of the new congressional redistribution map; and the passage of S3416 by both houses of the New Jersey Legislature, which codifies marital equality into law. “
In August 2021, the group urged political map designers to create districts that have helped LGBTQ populations gain a little more political clout in New Jersey. Through editorials and data collection, the group helped build a case on how to bring communities together to form LGBTQ-friendly congressional districts and presented testimonies at open redistribution hearings.
The group claims that because of their efforts, Neptune City, Ocean Grove and Red Bank, along with Asbury Park in the 6th Congressional District, will be more LGBTQ-friendly for the community in a political sense. “Congressman Frank Pallone has been a friend and strong ally of the LGBTQ + community,” the organization said in a press release. “We know he will continue to fight for the [LGBTQ] community.”
“We have spent months educating allied organizations, elected officials and constituency authorities on why LGBTQ people are a legitimate community of interest,” said Lauren Albrecht, chair of the New Jersey Democratic LGBTQ Caucus. “Bringing together widely populated LGBTQ + communities to form equality-friendly regions is so critical because it ensures the allocation of resources and smart policies to better protect our community and our families, whether it is funding for housing, health care, education and many other critical issues. “
“Seizing this opportunity to increase LGBTQ representation once a decade, we are delighted to see the progress that has taken place over the past few days,” said Joe Forte, vice president. “New Jersey is the nation’s leader in LGBTQ + equality.”
In addition to the redistribution card, legislative leaders voted to codify same-sex marriage into law in December. Both houses passed Senate Marriage Equality Bill 3416. However, the group said it was “appalled but not surprised to see many lawmakers voting against the law. They mentioned each of them by name against marriage equality for LGBTQ people. Those who voted against the law were: Senator Steven Oroho, Senator Bob Singer, Senator Christopher Connors, Senator Michael Doherty, MP John Catalano, MP Ronald Dancer, MP Gerry Scharfenberger, incumbent Serena Dimaso, MP Edward Thomson, MP Jay Webber, MP Erik Peterson, Assembly Member Parker Space, and Assembly Member Robert Auth.
“While these lawmakers need information to clarify why LGBTQ people deserve the same rights as everyone else, we are always available to help at a convenient time,” LGBTQ Dems said. “Despite the views of these lawmakers that the LGBTQ community does not deserve the right to marry who we love, we are fortunate that most of our representatives understand that over 6% of the population deserves this protection. “
The LGBTQ Dems thanked the MPs who sponsored the bill. The main sponsors were Senators Sweeney, Weinberg and Gopal and Assembly members Vainieri Huttle, Downey, Jasey, Quijano and Zwicker, and the co-sponsors Senators Lagana, Ruiz, Singleton and Stack and Assembly members Calabrese, Chaparro, Danielson, Freiman, Johnson, Lampitt, McKeon, Mukherji, Murphy, Peters, Stanfield and Swain.
For more information on NJ’s LGBTQ Democrats, please visit them on the web or on Facebook