Clementi tragedy spurred Sen. Turner to introduce Bullying legislation.

Will Senators Sweeney, Sarlo, Beach, Van Drew and Madden follow their colleague to defend gay youth after their NO(N) votes on equality?

From today’s Courier Post:

Tyler Clementi’s fatal plunge off the GW Bridge last week spurred the legislation, introduced by Sen. Shirley Turner. A bipartisan bill – termed the “anti-bullying bill of rights” by Assemblywomen Valerie Vainieri and Mary Pat Angelini – is currently being written and will be introduced shortly.

011309@17A less indecisive Sen. Beach.

As one of the Democrats who voted against gay marriage equality, Turner might seem a dubious choice to lead the charge in this battle. The NJ-ALCU legal director issued a withering denunciation of Turner and her colleagues, namely Senate Pres. Steve Sweeney whose non-vote on marriage create a climate of inequality that imperils our kids to begin with. It’s a fair argument and I am glad someone made it.

But I’m also glad that Shirley Turner –regardless of her vote — is sponsoring this legislation and that Sweeney called for a moment of silence to honor Tyler Clementi. If Steve Sweeney wants to sign on as co-sponsor that’d be a bonus.

Come to think of it, I’d invite all the Democrats who voted NO (or abstained) on marriage to sign on as primary co-sponsors to Senator Turner’s Bullying Bill of Rights. Senators Beach, Sarlo, Van Drew, and Madden this means YOU!

It’s hard to forgive and forgive and move on from that cold winter day when the Democratic caucus folded on gay rights in New Jersey. But what’s on the table at the moment is a different opportunity: to craft and pass a bill that’s so darn good at protecting kids from bullying and harassment that 49 other states want to import it for themselves.

If I’m being naive, it wouldn’t be the first time.

Comments (6)

  1. bmiller_philly

    Clementi’s blood is on Turner’s hands.  This little legislative gambit reminds me of the segregationists of Alabama who thundered about “mixing the races” and encouraged the hatred, reacting to lynching with “outrage” and passing “anti-lynching laws.”

    If it wasn’t for the bigotry the segregationists created, there’d have been no lynching.

    Same with Turner and the other homophobic bigots in Trenton.  Their strident opposition to equality under the law created and extended an environment of hatred towards gay people, by communicating they aren’t equal.

    This latest legislative gambit is just an effort by these low-lifes to avoid responsibility for the culture of hatred they nurtured and prospered from.

  2. Steven Goldstein, Garden State Equality chair

    The Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights, which Assemblywomen Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen) and Mary Pat Angelini (R-Monmouth) announced this week, is not Shirley Turner’s bill. Senator Turner’s bill focuses on the privacy aspect.  The Huttle-Angelini bill is a huge overhaul of New Jersey’s anti-bullying law that the two Assemblywomen have been working on for six months with Garden State Equality and a number of other organizations.  The Senate sponsors will be announced shortly.  The Huttle-Angelini Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights is on its way to having some stunning bipartisan, multi-ideological support.  

    Our motivation for working on the comprehensive Huttle-Angelini Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights” is that conditions in schools, and the weakness of the current law and the weakness of the anti-school bullying laws in 43 other states, are so awful, they eerily presaged some of the factors that led to the Tyler Clementi tragedy.

    But regardless of Shirley Turner’s opposition to marriage equality, her far narrower bill, too, is needed, and good for her and for any legislator who will help our kids.  

  3. Scott Weingart

    Huttle and Angelini are sponsoring the anti-bullying bill.

    Turner is pushing a bill to increase invasion of privacy from a third degree crime to a second degree crime. In effect this would make taking an upskirt photo a more serious offense than reaching up a woman’s skirt (assuming in both cases there is no consent).


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *