Chris Smith Does Not Represent My Family

Jason Cassese and John Nachlinger, Esq. reside in the Ocean County portion of the Fourth Congressional District with their daughter Sydney. Promoted by Rosi. 

Our congressman, Chris Smith, did something worse than stab us in our backs; he stabbed us in our hearts.  Yes, you read that right.

It was reported this week that in May, Fourth district Representative Chris Smith said children would be better off in orphanages than in homes with gay parents.  The congressman has issued a denial; grasping onto the all too familiar mantle of victim saying that the tape of the event was edited to twist his words.  Regardless of what he said, his inability to answer a basic question is troubling.  His true feelings on the topic are reinforced by his homophobic record on LGBT issues.

This incident is not the congressman’s first display of anti-gay bias.  As recently as a 2015 congressional hearing, he said “I am a strong believer in traditional marriage and do not construe homosexual rights as human rights.” Let that sit for a moment. Chris Smith does not believe we are entitled to the same basic rights as heterosexuals.

Putting his record into context, you can surmise where he was going with his comments to the students in May.  Instead of twisting in the wind, trying to find the right words, someone with real conviction would have clearly and simply responded: “all children deserve a loving family, regardless of who their parents are.”  Further, someone who believes that our marriage is equal to his own would not have punted saying the issue of marriage was “moot” because of the Supreme Court’s decision.  A man of character would have said, “I proudly support the extension of marriage to gay and lesbian couples.”

What the congressman fails to recognize is the forethought, time, preparation, and financial commitment gay and lesbian couples make to have a child.  We spend thousands of dollars on adoption agencies, legal fees, home studies, among other costs for the privilege to raise a child of our own.  We have lost count of the number of baby books we read (front to back) in preparation for our daughter’s arrival.  Every sniffle or developmental delay was brought to the attention of her doctor.  In short, we are some of the most committed people hoping to give a child a loving home and the opportunity to go further in life than we could ever have imagined for ourselves.

We live in a fairly conservative neighborhood in northern Ocean County.  During the 2016 election, Trump signs outnumbered Hillary signs on our block.  The passion for Trump was so strong that one of our neighbors hand painted a large sign and left it up for a full year.  Despite our neighbors’ political leanings, we have never been victims of discrimination in our community.  We are just one of the neighbors living our suburban lives.  Not everyone is as fortunate.

Five years ago, we were blessed to be present when our smart, courageous, beautiful, independent, and sassy daughter came into this world.  We have not stopped loving her since.  Our road to adopting her was long and filled will many ups and downs but we couldn’t have made a better choice than to create a family through adoption.  We want her to live in a world where she is seen as equal to any other child in her school.  Thankfully, we are surrounded by an amazing group of friends and family who treat us no different than any other family.

Chris Smith’s words and views endanger our family.  The words of our elected officials carry weight and set a tone.  As we have seen with the rise in bias incidents over the last two years, discriminatory words give a pass to those who harbor hate in their hearts.

Fortunately, in just a few weeks, we have an opportunity to elect someone who better reflects our values; Jersey values.  We encourage anyone who is as offended by Chris Smith’s words as we were to take a look at the candidates and vote for their families.  Don’t sit on the sidelines, now is your opportunity to get involved and send Chris Smith back home to Virginia.   His 1980’s bigotry has no place in our great Garden State.


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