Governor Christie’s recent nomination of anti-LGBT Ocean County Freeholder is a slap in the face to LGBT New Jerseyans and anyone who believes in a fair criminal justice system

NEW JERSEY, MAY 11TH 2016 – Garden State Equality is dedicated to serving the best interests and well-being of the LGBT community and are deeply concerned about Governor Christie’s recent nomination of the anti-LGBT Jack Kelly. His history of discrimination would have devastating results to our justice system.

“LGBT people, especially those who are people of color, face higher rates of incarceration and often injustice in our prison system.” said Christian Fuscarino, Executive Director of Garden State Equality. “We must ensure unfair criminalization has no place in New Jersey and that means no Jack Kelly. The State Parole Board should require individuals with experience, intelligence, and tolerance, not homophobia and racism.”

We are thankful for elected officials, including Senator Weinberg and Senator Lesniak, speaking out against this nomination and encouraging others to join in opposition.

Steven Fulop, Mayor of Jersey City, said “As Jersey City is one of the largest LGBT communities in New Jersey and our administration in Jersey City also provides a model prisoner re-entry program, this nomination is concerning. Clearly, our hope is that the Judiciary Committee rejects this nomination. In Jersey City, we have an understanding of the needs of those who re-enter society and an open mind and unbiased views are necessary to properly guide that mission. We shouldn’t allow anyone to impede progress with prejudices. We are concerned about Jack Kelly’s recorded views and they have no place on a board that impacts the lives of residents.”

In order for LGBT people to thrive and succeed, we cannot allow individuals with personal bias impact our justice system. We urge our legislators to keep our State Parole Board clear of bigotry by voting no on Jack Kelly.

At the time of this release, Senate President Stephen Sweeney did not provide a statement.


Garden State Equality is New Jersey’s largest statewide advocacy and education organization for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community. In this post-marriage environment, GSE’s main focuses are youth, transgender people, and seniors, and our work on those issues is informed by racial, economic, and disability justice concerns. GSE is working on campaigns to address safe environments for youth, improvement of health services that meet LGBT community needs, and respectful treatment of seniors.

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