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BARNEGAT TOWNSHIP, New Jersey, October 29, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The mayor of a New Jersey township is holding firm against negative reactions to his forceful denunciation of a state law mandating that “LGBT history” be taught in public schools.

Democrat Gov. Phil Murphy signed Senate Bill 1569 in January, requiring school boards to develop lessons about the “political, economic, and social contributions of persons with disabilities and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people” throughout history.

During an August committee meeting for Barnegat Township, Republican Mayor Alfonso Cirulli assailed the LGBT agenda as “an affront to almighty God” and declared that “now is the time for the righteous to stand up for their rights” before the school district implements a new curriculum in line with the new mandate.

“The government has no right to teach our kids morality,” he said, arguing that “we've crossed over the line into absurdity” in overriding parents’ right to decide when and how to introduce children to such sensitive subjects. 

“Everyone has a right to live his or her life the way they want to, but no group has a right to force others to comply with their beliefs,” added Cirulli, who is a former assistant principal.

“It is deeply troubling that Barnegat's mayor is opposed to building an inclusive and affirming environment for LGBTQ youth, especially considering that Garden State Equality worked so closely with the school district to successfully implement transgender student guidance last year,” the LGBT activist group Garden State Equality responded. “Moreover, the mayor's views are in stark contrast to educators within the district, two of whom are contributing to our curriculum development.”

“I’m not a bigot, I love people,” Cirulli responded to his critics this month. “This is going to hurt people. This is going to cause more problems than they say it’s going to help, and I’m worried about kids. You’re taking young kids and you start telling them, ‘If you want to be a girl, you can be a girl, if you want to be a guy, you can be a guy.’ And you’re giving them an identity crisis.”

The mayor also addressed the subject at greater length in a letter to his constituents, expressing gratitude for the support he has received.

“Prior to the shift that has occurred over the past 25 years, education was determined by the citizens of each local community, holding to the standards of that community,” Cirulli wrote, adding that the “overwhelming” feedback he received from members of the community affirms that “parents want to guide their children in regards to sexual matters. They do not want to be bullied by the government, or other special interest groups.”

He called on the public to urge their state representatives to repeal SB 1569, and reiterated that he “offer(s) no apologies” for his stand.

The Family Policy Alliance of New Jersey is also circulating a petition that calls on Murphy to “at the very least” support amending the law to include an opt-out provision. 

“A person’s significant historical contributions should not be predicated on their sex life or personal feelings about their sexual identity,” it argues. “Sexuality is a private matter and only parents have the right to decide when and how their children learn about it.”