LGBTQ Commission’s Open Letter on New Legislation

An open letter from the LGBTQ Commission of the Episcopal Diocese of New Jersey:
(Read below to see how to add your signature)

Over the past weeks and months, we have seen an unprecedented amount of anti-trans and anti-LGBTQIA+ legislation across the US. The most disturbing aspect of these laws and political directives is the targets—students and those who support them.

Among the goals of these legislative actions are such efforts as classifying gender-affirming care for minors as tantamount to child abuse, this includes gender-affirming counseling and medical care. Supportive parents and teachers are further implicated in potential criminal charges, as clearly stated in legislation in Texas and Idaho. Similar legislation is working its way through the Georgia state house. In Tennessee, teachers would be required to report suspected trans students to state authorities.

Recent legislation from the state of Florida, lately branded the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, would ban any discussion of LGBTQIA+ persons among elementary school students. This is a time when many young people are just beginning to understand their own sexual orientation. Such legislation will lead to further marginalization of children who are different from their peers and would prohibit teachers or school counselors from doing their job of supporting the students under their charge.

We, the undersigned, take Jesus’ command to love our neighbors as ourselves very seriously (Mark 12:31). We also have not forgotten the promises we make whenever we renew our baptismal vows, which include the promise to respect the dignity of every human being (BCP, p. 305). We further believe that our faith calls us to stand up for the oppressed and protect the vulnerable. The suicide rate among trans and LGBTQIA+ youth is alarming, but studies repeatedly show a marked decrease in suicide rates among trans and LGBTQIA+ youth who receive support both at home and at school.

We therefore repudiate all these legislative efforts to humiliate, isolate, and punish trans children and those who support them. We further repudiate efforts to stigmatize the LGBTQIA+ communities of our nation, regardless of their age.

We call on the legislators of every state as well as the federal government to protect these, our children, from further harm. And we call on Christians everywhere to denounce such legislation in the name of the one who shielded the vulnerable and protected the innocent.


The Right Rev. William H. Stokes
12th Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of New Jersey

The Rev. Daniel Scott Russell, Chair (he/him)
Episcopal Chaplain, Rutgers University

The Rev. Allison Burns-LaGreca, Rector
St. Mary’s, Stone Harbor

The Rev. Carolyn Bradley,
Trinity, Asbury Park

Micah Cronin
Trinity, Princeton

The Rev. Joanna P. Hollis, Rector (she/her)
Christ Church in the City of New Brunswick

The Rev. Robert J. Laws, III, D.Min, Rector
St. Martin’s, Bridgewater

Jon Carl Lewis (he, him, his)

Francesca Maresca, PhD
St. Luke’s, Metuchen

The Rev. Sharon Patterson, Vicar
St. Stephen’s, Mullica Hill

Alicia M. Rodriguez
Holy Trinity, South River

The. Rev. Jeffrey Roy, Rector
St. George’s by the River, Rumson

Add your signature!

Can’t see the form below? Use this link.

Community Co-Signers

Steve Welch, Canon for Communications, Episcopal Diocese of New Jersey

Connor Crafton-Tempel, Trinity Episcopal Church (LEM, Pride Committee Member

The Rev. Deborah Cook, All Saints’ Memorial Church,  Rector

William Andel, St. George’s vestry member

Lois Selfridge, St Thomas, Alexandria

Dorothy Blindenbacher

The Rev Thomas B. Conway, Retired

Nancy Tinkham, Holy Trinity, Senior Warden

The Rev. Ryan Paetzold, Christ Church Palmyra; Sts. Stephen & Barnabas, Florence

Brenda Whiteman, Trinity Episcopal Cathedral

Becky Foster, St.Thomas’ Glassboro

Charles Lochner

Jane Brady-Close, St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Albany NY-Interim Rector

Rachel Rowe, St Stephens senior warden

Julia McGraw, Grace, Merchantville Parishioner and Administrative Assistant

Anne Kreiss, St. Mark’s at the Crossing

The Rev. Mark Chattin, Holy Trinity,    Rector

Wendy Hallstrom, she/her/hers, Church of the Holy Spirit

Kathryn Megroz-Foley, Christ Episcopal Church

William Klun, Pennington

Stephanie Shockley, Church of the Holy Cross, Priest-in-Church

Tiffany Myers, St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, Medford, NJ (Christian Formation Director)

Kathy Waugh, Grace church, Pemberton

The Rev. Richard J. Wisniewski , St. Mark and All Saints, Deacon

Christine Ruland, Cliffwood Beach, NJ

Beth O’Connor, St. Peter’s Clarksboro

The Rev. Carol Rodgers, Dcn., St. Matthew’s Pennington

Jennifer McKay, East Windsor, NJ

The Rev. G. Richard Civalier, Deptford, NJ

Allie Graham, St. David’s Cranbury, Seminarian at Princeton Theological Seminary

Ben Hicks, Vestry Member, St. David’s Cranbury

Britt O’Connor

Jason Fleming, St. Mary’s Clementon

Arthur Lobdell, Senior Warden, St Johns Elizabeth; NJ School for Ministry

The Revd Canon Richard Wrede, Priest-in-charge, Church of St. John the Evangelist

Pat Hawkins, M.Div, Diocesan Benefits Administrator, Episcopal Diocese of New Jersey

Mark Hernandez

David Harrison

Edward Ferrell, Christ Church in Woodbury (NJ)

Joan Sparrow

Barbara Harrison

Jonathan Wilson, St. Thomas, Glassboro

Chase Danford, Trinity Asbury Park, Rector

Frances Ann Jervis , Church of the Resurrection

Alicia Gilmartin, St John’s Somerville

Nicholas Orlando , Holy Trinity, Ocean City

Veronica Meyer, St. Peter’s Perth Amboy, Senior Warden

The Rev. Jack Zamboni, St. Francis Church, Rector

Kristen Lusk, St. Peter’s Church, NJ