TRENTON >> New Jersey’s first openly gay legislator has taken issue with “anti-gay measures” in the South.
Last month, officials in Arkansas approved a bill that eliminated civil rights for the LGBT community in municipalities that already had a protection in place.
“Not only do they not recognize gay and lesbian civil rights, but they won’t allow local entities from passing them,” Gusciora said Friday. “I just think it’s mean spirited and it also singles out a group for discrimination.
In response to the state’s bill, Gusciora and Assemblyman Tim Eustace (D-Bergen/Passaic), who is also openly gay, called for groups to boycott holding or attending conferences in Arkansas.
“I’m not afraid of Arkansas calling out for a boycott of New Jersey because our biggest export — having some of the best universities and public schools — is knowledge,” Gusciora said. “Those Arkansas legislators have already been boycotting it for years.”
The assemblyman alleges the state’s legislators wiped out the local anti-gay discrimination legislation under the guise that it should be uniform with the state,.
“This is a legislature who goes out of its way, but they don’t introduce that uniform measure, which is pretty telling,” Gusciora said.
The 15th district legislator said he is speaking out because the majority is picking on a minority group.
“Obviously, they’re saying they’re more superior than gays,” he said. “The whole purpose of civil rights is to be left alone.”
Furthermore, the anti-gay law is gaining momentum elsewhere.
“West Virginia, Tennessee, and Texas all now have proposed that bill,” the assemblyman said. “This is now the next wave of anti-gay measures that are going on in the states.”
Gusciora — though he hasn’t spoken to him — is also urging Gov. Chris Christie to address the issue when he is traveling around the country.
“We think that the governor gets it,” the assemblyman said. “I think that when he goes out around the country that he should bring that up and speak out against those measures. Next time I see him when he’s in the state, I’ll bring it up.”
The governor’s office did not respond to a request seeking comment.
David Foster, The Trentonian