Sunday, December 6, 2009

New Jersey State Senator supports genderless marriage while rejecting ex-gay rights

By Greg Quinlan of Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays (PFOX)

New Jersey State Senator Barbara Buono epitomizes what is wrong with the movement for same-sex marriage. Buono endorses gay marriage because she favors equal rights for homosexuals, but refuses to endorse equal rights for ex-gays. In her view, and those of everyone else endorsing genderless marriage, gays are acceptable but former homosexuals are not.

The issue came to a head last year with the introduction of Senate Bill 2975, sponsored by Buono, who represents New Jersey’s 18th Legislative District located in the center of the state. The bill revised laws concerning hate crimes and bullying and added “gender identity or expression” to the protected classes of race, color religion, gender, handicap, sexual orientation, and ethnicity. During the debate over the bill, Senator Anthony Bucco, the Deputy Minority Leader who represents New Jersey’s 25th Legislative District in the north-central part of the state, offered an amendment to include “persons who declare themselves to be ex-homosexuals.”

Deliberately ignored by the mainstream media, ex-gays routinely face bias, prejudice, harassment, and intolerance. Homosexual activists methodically work to banish ex-gays to non-existence.

Gay activists fear that if the public finds out that thousands of men and women have successfully left homosexuality for heterosexuality, it would harm their gay rights agenda. Thus ex-gays cannot be allowed to exist in the public’s mind; the public must believe the ex-gays are delusional and hateful. Yet science has proven that homosexual behavior is not inborn, genetic or in one’s DNA.

The gay community which fought to elevate tolerance to a national fervor is now just as determined to deny ex-gays that same tolerance and equality. Indeed, high profile gay activists publically seek to destroy ex-gays’ credibility and livelihoods.

Senator Buono is working to help those gay activists legally deny equality for ex-gays and their supporters. Senator Bucco’s amendment would have addressed such prejudicial actions against ex-gays, but Senator Buono rejected the amendment that would have included ex-gays for equal protection. Specifically addressing the proposed “ex-homosexual” designation, Senator Buono stated:

Now, I’m not sure what that means. I think the best that can be said respectfully is that it is misguided to suggest that someone can choose their sexual orientation and then change their mind…. It underscores the need for hate crimes legislation which offers protection against this sort of misconception that really helps to fuel hurtful prejudices and biased crimes.

Senator Buono not only denied the existence of an entire minority, but also proposed that hate crimes ‘protections’ should be used to legally ban the very concept of individual self-determination! Yet the Senator insists that people can choose their gender and such actions must be protected under “gender identity.” Thus, transgenders and cross-dressers are affirmed for changing their gender but former homosexuals are ridiculed for making the decision to change their sexual orientation, and offered no protection at all.

In response to Senator Buono’s hateful comments against the ex-gay community, Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays (PFOX) – a national non-profit organization that advocates for the ex-gay community and supports families – contacted Senator Buono’s office with a twofold inquiry:

First, PFOX asked the Senator to meet with a group of ex-gays from her home state of New Jersey. It seemed only natural that a self-proclaimed advocate of civil rights would welcome an opportunity to confirm or correct her conceptions and then discuss any legitimate concerns of the ex-gay community. Second, PFOX inquired whether Senator Buono believes that ex-gays should receive the same tolerance and respect afforded to gays.

But Senator Buono failed to respond despite numerous attempts. PFOX reached out to Senator Buono’s office via both email and telephone over a period of several weeks, including three messages left directly with an aide.

Senator Buono’s cavalier denial of the existence of ex-gays, her threat that ex-gays should be punished under hate crimes laws because they dare to exist, and her continuing refusal to meet with ex-gay constituents, are dangerous not only for the ex-gay community, but to all heterosexuals. Senator Bono was elected to represent all of the people in her district, and not just gay activists. While Senator Bono endorses hate crime laws that purposely exclude ex-gays and sponsors genderless marriage, she refuses to extend tolerance and equality to a minority that needs it the most.

To offer protection to one group at the expense of another hardly demonstrates veracity in the statements of tolerance espoused by Senator Buono on behalf of gays. Senator Buono, the District of Columbia Superior Court recently ruled that ex-gays are a protected class eligible for sexual orientation non-discrimination protection under the Washington D.C. Human Rights Act. You should do the same and stop your ex-gay bashing against people like me.

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Ex-gay Greg Quinlan is a lobbyist in New Jersey and a member of PFOX.