Friday, April 10, 2015

Green: Mapp's Remarks Offensive to Gay Community

My op-ed on

When Mayor Adrian Mapp said I should apologize to the LGBT community for remarks I made this week with respect to the arrest of Dan Damon, he was totally off message.

If anything, Mr. Mapp should offer an apology to the LGBT community for using Dan Damon's incident for his own political advantage.

The direction Mayor Mapp has taken with respect to the arrest of Mr. Damon has been embarrassing for the City of Plainfield. This incident has nothing to do with one's sexual orientation and everything to do with public indecency.

When I spoke about the arrest of Mr. Damon, it was solely to discuss the decision of one man to have sex in a public place, with no regard for the community at large.

I have been a staunch advocate of the LGBT community for years. I also have family members, friends and colleagues who are gay. I hold these people close to my heart and I would never say anything to offend them.

This week those same friends have called to support me on this matter that has unfortunately played out so publicly. They reminded me of the day 10 years ago when I stood on the steps of the Statehouse in support of their rights.

Subsequently, the Garden State Equality organization made me a lifetime member and entered me into their "Equality Hall of Fame" for a lifetime of courage in fighting for equality and success in improving the lives of millions.

Today, I thank Assemblyman Reed Gusciora and Assemblyman Tim Eustace for publicly acknowledging my efforts and proving that I am not the person Mr. Mapp is trying to paint me as.

So, when I was informed Mr. Mapp asked me to apologize to the LGBT community on the steps of the Statehouse, I was shocked that our mayor would use Mr. Damon's arrest as an opportunity to embarrass me and the gay community.

The truth is, we would not be talking about this issue had Mr. Damon used better judgment. What he does privately is his matter and I respect that. But when he decided to have sex on a busy street, it became a matter of public concern.

As elected officials, we are faced with tough choices to make all the time. We are elected to lead and make decisions, putting the public first, always before our own.

The residents of Plainfield pay a lot of taxes so they don't need to see the mayor's ally have sex on a busy street in Plainfield. The people have a right to live in a decent community without witnessing others has sex in public places.

I question why Mayor Mapp has not yet said what Mr. Damon did was wrong; instead, he has tried to spin the situation against me, hoping to make me the problem.

I hope the public sees this for what it really is — the mayor's attempt to distract the public from the real issue.

I'm devastated that council members Cory Storch and Rebecca Williams support Mayor Mapp and Dan Damon on this issue. As elected officials, it is not right for them to remain silent on something that affects us all.

I will not stand by as an elected official of the state of New Jersey and allow this type of sexual activity to be displayed in any street or town.

Assemblyman Jerry Green, D-Plainfield, represents the 22nd Legislative District.

No comments: