OpEd: Asbury Park’s New Charter School and Religious Funding

By Tommy DeSeno

“College Achieve” charter school is trying to open in Asbury Park. It’s operated by Mike Piscal, who is known in the education field for making charter schools in California go broke, for having lax policy on sexual harassment and choosing spokespeople the likes of Bill Cosby. After California he spent two years in Las Vegas, then recently had a failed attempt to open a charter school in Brooklyn.

Having come back home to New Jersey, he incorporated “College Achieve” charter school with no assets other than the $75.00 filing fee, with an address at his father’s house in Toms River.

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Posted: August 10th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Asbury Park, Education, Marriage Equality, Opinion, Tommy DeSeno | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

Gallagher on Power and Politics this weekend

Luke Margolis, Art Gallagher and Jay Lassiter on the News12 set

Luke Margolis, Art Gallagher and Jay Lassiter on the News12 set

Your favorite blogger appears on News12’s Power and Politics with Luke Margolis this weekend opposite the indefatigable Democratic activist Jay Lassiter.

Our topic was Congressman Chris Smith’s commitment to human rights and his controversial comments regarding LGBT rights vs human rights last month.

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Posted: February 13th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Art Gallagher, Chris Christie, Gay Marriage, Gender Equality, Human Rights, Human Trafficking, Humanity, marriage, Marriage Equality | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Gallagher on Power and Politics this weekend

Congressman Smith: LGBT persons should be treated with respect and compassion

Concluding_debateCongressman Chris Smith (R-NJ-4), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Sub-Committee on Africa and Human Rights, responded to the controversy about a remark concerning homosexual rights and human rights that he made during a hearing last week on combating violence inflicted by the terrorist group Boko Haram in Nigera with a statement issued to MoreMonmouthMusings:

“All governments have a duty to protect everyone and I am unequivocally opposed to acts of violence against anyone,” Smith said, “All individuals, including LGBT persons, should be treated with respect and compassion.”

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Posted: February 5th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Chris Smith, Frank Pallone, Gay Marriage, Gender Equality, Marriage Equality | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments »

Gay Marriage and The Church

By Bader George Qarmont

Bader-Qarmout-portrait-picAs New Jersey became the 14th state in the Union to license gay marriage, I am left wondering why and what is next. Will this judicial activism have any impact on churches? Some may think I am over reacting, but I fear that the church is 15-25 years away from being forced to perform same sex marriage or risk losing tax exemption for discrimination. A Pastor threating to close his church doors before doing so, is no threat at all.

If a church wants to continue to practice the Biblical definition of marriage, it needs to protect itself.  I see a potential for litigation to force a church to marry same sex couples, as is already happening in England. Barrie Drewitt-Barlow, The gay plaintiff in the legal challenge in England said “The only way forward for us now is to make a challenge in the courts against the church.” It is a matter of time before American churches are also legally challenged.  

Currently most churches will marry non-members in a religious ceremony at the church, this practice must end immediately and new policy implemented as soon as possible.  I believe churches should have a policy to only marry members.  In order to be a member each person must sign a statement of faith that includes acceptance of the Biblical definition of marriage. Anyone can attend the church but only members can be married in the church.

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Posted: November 10th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Bader George Qarmout, Gay Marriage, marriage, Marriage Equality, Opinion, Religion, Same Sex Marriage | Tags: , , , , | 8 Comments »

Democratic Leader Wants No Religious Exceptions For Gay Marriage

Kissing Brides, Heather Jensen and Amy Quinn, an Asbury Park Councilwoman, celebrate their marriage shortly after midnight on October 21.  facebook photo

Kissing Brides, Heather Jensen and Amy Quinn, an Asbury Park Councilwoman, celebrate their marriage shortly after midnight on October 21. facebook photo

Assembly Minority Leader Lou Greenwald told The Star Ledger that Assembly Democrats are not likely to pass legislation that would protect clergy and religious organizations from being forced to perform same sex marriages and accommodate the ceremonies.

What’s less clear is what the Legislature is going to do about gay marriage. Right now, gay couples can get married in New Jersey. But that right hangs on a decision made at the Superior Court level, since the state Supreme Court never decided the case.

Lawmakers could try to override Christie’s 2012 veto of gay marriage legislation or write a new bill to encode it into law. Or they could do nothing — an option they say is looking more attractive.

Greenwald said the Assembly is leaning against an override because, even if they cobbled together the two-thirds majority they’d need to pull it off, a religious exemption provision that was inserted into the bill to win Republican support could actually restrict rights gay couples have under the court ruling.

“The answer probably is no,” Greenwald said of the override. “Right now in New Jersey, the opinion seems to be that we have the strongest marriage equality laws in the country.”

Early last year the New Jersey Legislature passed the Marriage Equality and Religious Exceptions Act which, if it had been signed by Governor Chris Christie, would have granted same sex couples the right to marry and recognized the First Amendment Right of clergy and religious societies, organizations and institutions not to solemnize gay marriage or provide space, goods, services, advantages or privileges for gay marriage ceremonies.  The Act would have provided immunity from civil law suits against religious organizations that refused to accommodate gay marriages.

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Posted: November 10th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Gay Marriage, Marriage Equality, Marriage Equality and Religious Exemptions Act, Same Sex Marriage | Tags: , , , , , | 10 Comments »

Christie Drops Appeal To Gay Marriage Decision

Same Sex Nuptials Are Now Certain To Remain Legal in New Jersey

Kissing Brides, Heather Jensen and Amy Quinn, an Asbury Park Councilwoman, celebrate their marriage shortly after midnight this morning.  facebook photo

Kissing Brides, Heather Jensen and Amy Quinn, an Asbury Park Councilwoman, celebrate their marriage shortly after midnight this morning. facebook photo

Given the State Supreme Court’s signal that the Christie administration would not prevail in its appeal of Superior Court Judge Mary Jacobson’s decision compelling the State to grant same sex couples the same marriage rights as heterosexual couples, Governor Chris Christie withdrew his appeal today, the first day that gay couples can wed in New Jersey under Jacobson’s order and the Supreme Court’s refusal to stay that order.

“Although the governor strongly disagrees with the court substituting its judgment for the constitutional process of the elected branches or a vote of the people, the court has now spoken clearly as to their view of the New Jersey constitution and, therefore, same-sex marriage is the law,” said Colin Reed, a spokesman for Christie. “The governor will do his constitutional duty and ensure his administration enforces the law as dictated by the New Jersey Supreme Court.”

State Senator Mike Doherty issued a statement condemning Christie for caving to the activist judiciary.

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Posted: October 21st, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Gay Marriage, Marriage Equality, Marriage Equality and Religious Exemptions Act | Tags: , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Opinion: Same-Sex Marriage Poses No Political Threat to Gov. Christie

Opinion: Same-Sex Marriage Poses No Political Threat to Gov. Christie (via NJSpotlight)

While New Jersey’s gay community is understandably encouraged by the recent Superior Court decision declaring a prohibition on same-sex marriage unconstitutional, the cold reality is that the stronger hand is still held by its chief opponent, Gov.…

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Posted: October 2nd, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Gay Marriage, marriage, Marriage Equality | Tags: , , , , , | Comments Off on Opinion: Same-Sex Marriage Poses No Political Threat to Gov. Christie

Christie Administration will appeal Gay Marriage decision

Governor Christie’s press office just issued the following statement:

“Governor Christie has always maintained that he would abide by the will of the voters on the issue of marriage equality and called for it to be on the ballot this Election Day.  Since the legislature refused to allow the people to decide expeditiously, we will let the Supreme Court make this constitutional determination.”

Today’s decision requiring the state to officiate same-sex marriages was made by Superior Court Judge Mary Jacobson sitting in Mercer County.  In order for the Supreme Court to decide the constitutionality the issue, Jacobson’s ruling will have to be appealed.

 

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Posted: September 27th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Gay Marriage, marriage, Marriage Equality, NJ Supreme Court | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments »

Same Sex Marriage Is Legal In New Jersey

A Superior Court Judge in Mercer County ruled that New Jersey officials must begin officiating same sex marriages by October 21, according to a report in The Star Ledger.

Superior Court Judge Mary Jacobson granted an emergency request by six gay couples, ordering state officials to begin officiating same-sex marriages on Oct. 21.

“The ineligibility of same-sex couples for federal benefits is currently harming same-sex couples in New Jersey in a wide range of contexts,” she wrote.

For example, the judge said, “civil union partners who are federal employees living in New Jersey are ineligible for marital rights with regard to the federal pension system, all civil union partners who are employees working for businesses to which the Family and Medical Leave Act applies may not rely on its statutory protections for spouses, and civil union couples may not access the federal tax benefits that married couples enjoy.”

Jacobson was asked to square the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in June striking down the Defense of Marriage Act with New Jersey’s own legal precedents.

Governor Christie’s press office declined to say, on the phone, if Judge Jacobson’s decision would be appealed. They said a statement might be emailed to the press later today. UPDATE: The Christie administration will appeal Jacobson’s ruling.

Judge Jacobson’s decision can be viewed here:

NJGayMarriage

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Posted: September 27th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Gay Marriage, marriage, Marriage Equality | Tags: , , | 1 Comment »

N.J. legislators inching toward override of Christie’s gay marriage veto

N.J. legislators inching toward override of Christie’s gay marriage veto (via NJ.com)

TRENTON — Under the din of a bustling election season, there’s a quiet movement afoot to make gay marriage a reality in New Jersey by the end of the year. Advocates have been working to convince state lawmakers — including a number of Republicans…

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Posted: September 23rd, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Gay Marriage, marriage, Marriage Equality, Marriage Equality and Religious Exemptions Act, News, NJNewsCommons, RePost | Tags: , , , | 5 Comments »