Garden State Equality Action Fund: Future bright for LGBTQ+ rights in New Jersey as committed advocates for equality secure seats from school boards to the statehouse during 2023 election
With election over, Garden State Equality Action Fund joins People’s Lame Duck Agenda coalition to defend, expand lived and legal equality.
ASBURY PARK, NJ — In addition to Assemblywoman-elect Luanne Peterpaul’s historic victory to become the first openly LGBTQ+ woman elected to the New Jersey Legislature, last night’s election was also a major win for equality across the Garden State. From school boards to the statehouse, LGBTQ+ and allied candidates secured positions crucial to the fight for lived and legal equality with the help of the Garden State Equality Action Fund.
“This year’s election confirmed that equality isn’t just right, it gets votes,” said Garden State Equality Action Fund Board Chair Jeannine Frisby LaRue. “We are heartened that so many candidates ran on equality- and equity-focused platforms, and we congratulate them on their hardfought and hardwon campaigns.”
An overwhelming majority of Garden State Equality Action Fund-endorsed candidates were elected this year. At least three-quarters (72% as of Wednesday afternoon) of candidates committed to equality won races up and down the ballot. Longtime advocates for LGBTQ+ rights were re-elected to their seats in the Legislature, including Senators Vin Gopal, Andrew Zwicker, and Leader M. Teresa Ruiz. While newcomers, like Assemblywomen-elect Garnet Hall and Dr. Margie Donlon, and returning candidates, like Senators-elect John Burzichelli and Raj Mukherji, also secured victories. Out candidates, like Senator Don Guardian, Neptune City Councilmember Pamela Renee, and Clinton Councilmember John Kashwick, were elected as well, bolstering representation for LGBTQ+ communities around the state. Furthermore, all Board of Education candidates endorsed by the Garden State Equality Action fund won their races this year.
As legislators return to Trenton for the Lame Duck period, the Garden State Equality Action Fund joins a vast and diverse coalition of social justice organizations calling on them to pass bills protecting our democracy and prioritizing racial and social justice. On Wednesday, not even 24 hours after polls closed on Election Day, more than 100 members of the coalition hand-delivered The People’s Lame Duck Agenda to every single member of the Legislature.
The agenda includes codifying protections for transgender and non-binary students into law; expanding access to reproductive healthcare for LGBTQ+ families; building a welcoming state for all people regardless of their immigration status; expanding law enforcement transparency and accountability; making our democracy more accessible and inclusive; and more.
“With the rights of transgender, nonbinary, and gender non-conforming students under attack by school boards across the state, it is paramount that we codify protections for some of our most vulnerable youth into law during the Lame Duck Period,” said Garden State Equality Action Fund Deputy Director Brielle Winslow-Majette.
In addition to securing protection for LGBTQ+ youth, the Lame Duck Agenda also includes revising the legal definition of “infertility” to include people who cannot achieve pregnancy without the intervention of assisted reproductive medicine because they are either a same-sex couple or single. The bill would require insurance companies to cover when a physician determines a person to be in need of medical assistance to achieve pregnancy and a wider range of such procedures.
The #United4Justice alliance includes: the ACLU of New Jersey, the League of Women Voters of New Jersey, Wind of the Spirit Immigrant Resource Center, the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice, New Jersey Policy Perspective, New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice, the Working Families Party of New Jersey, Salvation and Social Justice, Make the Road New Jersey, New Jersey Citizen Action, the New Jersey Black Empowerment Coalition Action Network, the Latino Action Network, and many more.
Garden State Equality, the largest LGBTQ+ advocacy organization in New Jersey, lifts up the diverse voices of LGBTQ+ communities through education and advocacy to advance the movement for equality in New Jersey and nationally.