Homophobia alive and well in New Jersey.
School District Bans Diversity Video Because It Includes Gay Couples
by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff
Posted: September 3, 2007 - 4:00 pm ET
(Marlton, New Jersey) A video used to teach junior school students about diverse families will no longer be shown after some parents mounted an aggressive campaign against if for including a depiction of same-sex couples.
The Evesham Township School District, in southern New Jersey, voted 7-1 to discontinue using the video, "That's A Family," because had so divided the community.
The tape was shown last school year to third grade students at J. Howard Van Zant School. It included various types of parents and families - divorced, bilingual, mixed race, parents who have adopted, and step-parents.
But it was the same-sex couple featured that angered parents.
Parents opposed to the video began their campaign in January, shortly after it was first shown.
At a stormy school district meeting earlier this year one parent suggested the Golden Rule - treat others as you would treat yourself - had nothing to do with homosexuality.
"Treat others as you would want to be treated, you donít have to teach all these horrible concepts to them about the golden rule, do you," the parent of one eight-year old screamed at the the school board.
"When does Evesham Township or any school have a right to show to my grandchildren something I believe to be morally wrong," asked another woman.
That opposition continued to grow throughout the summer. This week, as the school district began preparations for the fall term, parents brought the issue to a boil.
More than 200 people attended Thursday night's school district meeting.
"I look out here and see a community tearing itself apart," said board member Joseph Fisicaro Jr. "It's obvious this video is a lightning rod."
Among those in favor of the video were members of the Garden State Equality, New Jersey's largest LGBT civil rights organization.
"This saga is very far from over," said Steven Goldstein, the chair Garden State Equality.
He said the organization is considering filing a lawsuit over the district's decision.
New Jersey recognizes same-sex couples under its civil unions law, designed to give gay and lesbian couples the same rights as married couples.