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New Jersey’s Largest LGBTQ Organization Will Work to Elect Candidates Supportive of LGBTQ Rights and Combat anti-LGBTQ Trump Agenda, Names Rep. Chris Smith An Enemy of Fairness and Dignity

September 25th 2018- In light of early voting beginning in New Jersey for this November's general election, Garden State Equality Action Fund, New Jersey's largest education and advocacy organization for the LGBTQ community, today announced their endorsements in New Jersey's Congressional and local races. In issuing their endorsements, Garden State Equality notes that they will fight every second of the next few weeks to ensure that Congressman Chris Smith does not return to Washington. Smith's blatant discrimination towards the LGBTQ community, a mindset more fitting the 1950s than 2018, makes him the only congressional incumbent in New Jersey that GSE is speaking against.

"This election matters more than any in our lifetime as a community. President Trump has made his agenda clear, to set back the rights of our community by decades, to a time when we were forced to remain in the closet and had few to no protections under the law. Anti-discrimination protections - GONE! Transgender rights and military service - GONE! Rights for our Muslim brothers and sisters, our undocumented friends – GONE! Access to affordable healthcare - GONE! Trump would be a nightmare, and that’s without even addressing Vice President Pence, perhaps the most anti-LGBTQ Vice President to ever hold office.” said Christian Fuscarino, Executive Director of Garden State Equality.

"The quality and quantity of responses we received from candidates of all political ideologies is symbolic of how important the LGBTQ community is in New Jersey," said Chris Donnelly, Chair of GSE's Action Fund Board. "That importance, however, cannot be ignored nor taken for granted on our end. Tweets and Facebook posts lamenting the current state of politics is not going to do it this time. Let no one wake up on November 7 wishing or hoping they had done more. We need everyone knocking on doors, making phone calls, and getting their family, friends, coworkers, neighbors, casual acquaintances...everyone we know, to the polls to cast their vote."

Here is the full list of Garden State Equality’s Action Fund endorsements and openly LGBTQ candidates:

U.S. SENATOR: Bob Menendez
As a proven leader who stood up for the LGBTQ community for years, Bob Menendez is the clear choice for New Jersey’s fair-minded voters and LGBTQ residents. Senator Menendez has shown himself to be an outspoken advocate for the LGBTQ community. In his interview with Garden State Equality, Menendez not only spoke passionately of his ground-breaking work 30+ years ago advancing hate crimes and anti-bias laws to protect the LGBTQ community, but also of the personal sting of discrimination that he experienced as a Hispanic minority in his youth.

We acknowledge the Senator’s opponent, Bob Hugin, and his recent efforts to embrace the LGBTQ community by stating his support for marriage equality, attending the GSE Equality Ball, and sitting down with our community for a roundtable.


District 1: Donald Norcross

District 2: No Endorsement
Seth Grossman’s history of racist, sexist and anti LGBTQ comments is sickening. While we believe overall that this district would be better represented by State Senator Jeff Van Drew, neither candidate filled out our questionnaire, neither has a 100% track record on LGBTQ issues and neither has made an effort to reach out to our community on issues of importance to us. Therefore, we offer no endorsement in this race.

District 3: No Endorsement
Congressman Tom MacArthur is by far one of the most pro-LGBTQ Republicans in the nation and has proven a steadfast ally to the LGBTQ community. Yet, Congressman MacArthur’s support of efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act unequivocally puts members of the LGBTQ community at risk. While his opponent, Andy Kim, lacks a track record in elected office, he has expressed full support for LGBTQ causes and issues. Andy Kim and Tom MacArthur are both allies to our community. We note that Mr. Kim returned a questionnaire that indicated he will support the LGBTQ community, and Congressman MacArthur explained in extensive detail how he already has.

District 4: Josh Welle
We raise Josh Welle up as our must-win candidate in the 4th Congressional District, not just because his opponent is an enemy of freedom and equality for the LGBTQ community, but because Welle has committed himself to restoring the integrity of the 4th District and respecting all his constituents including the LGBTQ community. Smith brags openly of his disdain for our community's civil rights and actually said out loud that an orphanage is preferable for raising a child over a gay or lesbian couple. We rid the 5th District of Smith’s Congressional partner-in-hate, Scott Garrett, during the last election, and now it is time to pop the Congressional zit that is Chris Smith. All hands on deck for electing Josh Welle, who has Garden State Equality’s full support and should have yours.

District 5: Josh Gottheimer

District 6: Frank Pallone

District 7: No Endorsement
We acknowledge that Congressman Lance has been a proven ally to our community in recent years and has taken up supportive causes that have put him, thankfully, out of step with other anti-equality Republicans. However, his opponent, Tom Malinowski, has a proven track record under the Obama Administration and throughout his distinguished career in public service protecting LGBTQ rights around the world. Malinowski has indicated his full, unequivocal support of transgender service members, among other important LGBTQ civil rights issues. During Malinowski’s service as Assistant Secretary of State, Human Rights and Labor, he led the nation’s efforts to promote the human rights of LGBTQ people by establishing the Global Equality Fund to support LGBTQ rights advocacy and the position of Special Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBTQ Persons.

District 8: Albio Sires

District 9: Bill Pascrell

District 10: Donald Payne Jr.

District 11: Mikie Sherrill

District 12 : Bonnie Watson-Coleman

Local Endorsements
Monmouth County Freeholder: Amber Gesslein
Middletown Township Committee: Tricia Maguire
Neptune City Town Council: Meghan Huryk
Westwood Town Council: Alyssa Dawson
Flemington Mayor: Betsy Driver
Union County Freeholder: Rebecca Williams
Barnegat Township Committee: Dan Ward
Lambertville Mayor: Julia Fahl
Sussex County Freeholder: Patrick Curreri
Evesham Town Council: Patricia Hansen

Garden State Equality Action Fund also believes that it has a responsibility to share with our members a list of LGBTQ self-disclosed candidates, whether or not they received an endorsement. We encourage you to support all LGBTQ candidates who support our community:

Alyssa Dawson, Westwood Council
Betsy Driver, Flemington Mayor
Bobby Tullock, Boonton Council
Bryna Elder, Union Township Council
Caitlin Giles-McCormick, Flemington Council
Dan Ward, Barnegat Township Committee
Julia Fahl, Lambertville Mayor
Len Resto, Chatham Councilman
Meghan Huryk, Neptune City Council
Pat Hansen, Evesham Council
Patrick Curreri, Sussex County Freeholder
Rebecca Williams, Union County Freeholder
Rich Rockwell, Bloomfield Council
Robert Crook, Congressman in the 11th Congressional District
Tami Peterson, Frenchtown Borough Council
Thos Shipley, Roselle Park Councilman