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Gottheimer convenes roundtable on issues impacting LGBTQ+ youth and community

Working to Protect LGBTQ+ Rights and Address Hate Crimes & Bullying

NEW JERSEY — During Pride Month, U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5), LGTBQ+ advocates, experts, and local officials Friday came together for a roundtable discussion on issues impacting the LGBTQ+ community and actions to protect LGBTQ+ rights and young people. Issues discussed included discrimination, hate crimes, bullying, mental health challenges, homelessness, and marriage equality.

“I’m proud to fight in Congress on behalf of the LGBTQ+ community across New Jersey, to serve alongside incredible members of the community, and to continue our work to make our nation a more equitable, open place for all,” said Gottheimer, a member of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus. “We unfortunately know that the LGBTQ+ community continues to face bullying, legal discrimination, and inequality. But leaders like you are not backing down, and I’m grateful for your fight to protect decades of progress against far-right extremists who are seeking to roll back the clock and strip members of the LGBTQ+ community of their rights. As parents, and as leaders, it is our job to make sure we keep making New Jersey, this nation, and the world a better place for all of our children, for the LGBTQ+ community, for people of color, religions, and for all of our different communities and walks of life.”

“I commend Congressman Gottheimer’s unwavering commitment to LGBTQ equality. It is truly commendable, and it is evident that he not only understands the unique challenges faced by our community but actively works to address them. Congressman Gottheimer represents a diverse and beautiful district and his work is a testament to inclusivity and ensuring that every voice is heard and valued. We are fortunate to have such a steadfast advocate in Congress fighting for LGBTQ rights and creating a more equitable society for all,” said Executive Director of Garden State Equality Christian Fuscarino.

Roundtable participants included NJ Assemblywoman Shama Haider, NJ Assemblywoman Lisa Swain, Deputy Chief of Staff to Bergen County Executive Jared Lautz, Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich, Maywood Councilmember Jacqueline Flynn, Fort Lee Councilmember Bryan Drumgoole, Fort Lee Councilmember Harvey Sohmer, Former NJ Assemblyman Tim Eustace, Garden State Equality Executive Director Christian Fuscarino, PFLAG Coordinator of Your Authentic Self Youth Groups Liz Menges, PFLAG Coordinator Your Authentic Self Youth Groups Kaitlin Lord, NJ Department of Children and Families Assistant Commissioner for the Children’s System of Care Mollie Greene, Knit the Rainbow Founder & CEO Austin Rivers, Campus Pride Program Coordinator J. Whitlow, Planned Parenthood Public Affairs & Advocacy Manager Anne Marie Venezia, EdgeNJ CEO Laurie Litt, and Bergen County LGBTQ+ Advisory Board Chair Deb Guston.

Last Congress, Gottheimer helped pass in the House the bipartisan Equality Act to amend the Civil Rights Act to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. This bill also included Gottheimer’s bipartisan legislation, the Freedom from Discrimination in Credit Act, to prohibit credit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Last year, Gottheimer helped pass the bipartisan, bicameral Respect for Marriage Act, to enshrine marriage equality into federal law. Now signed into the law, the Respect for Marriage Act ensures that millions of LGBTQ+ and interracial couples are guaranteed the rights and protections to which they’re entitled.

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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