WEST ORANGE, NJ - July 10 marks the 10 year anniversary of Garden State Equality. Founded by Steven Goldstein in 2004, GSE is best known for its successful campaign to win marriage equality in 2013.
In addition, Garden State Equality has fought for and won a wide range of civil rights milestones over its 10 year history and grown to become New Jersey's largest civil rights organization, representing over 140,000 members.
In addition to marriage equality, other notable recent victories are the passage of the Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights (2011), a law that GSE helped to write and led a successful statewide campaign to pass; a ban on Sexual Orientation Change Efforts, or so-called "conversion therapy" (2013), and the passage of the Amended Birth Certificate Bill (2013) in the legislature, only to be vetoed by Governor Christie. There are many other milestone achievements. Since 2004, Garden State Equality has helped to enact over 200 state, county & local LGBT laws that serve to protect and enrich the lives of the LGBT community and beyond.
"Since its founding, Garden State Equality has been a vital voice for New Jersey's LGBT community, advancing equality and fairness for all New Jerseyans and providing real protections for them in every aspect of life," said John Mikytuck, Garden State Equality's Interim Executive Director.
"Today, we celebrate the monumental achievements GSE has made over the last 10 years, and recommit to continuing the fight for full equality of all in the future."
"From achieving marriage equality, to the strongest anti-bullying laws in the United States...Happy 10th anniversary Garden State Equality," said Luanne Peterpaul, Garden State Equality Board Chair.
"Garden State Equality, with help from our friends in the legislature, especially Senators Weinberg and Lesniak, helped to pass laws to better the lives of not only those in the LGBT community, but for all New Jerseyans."
Among the laws that GSE helped to enact are America's strongest and most inclusive laws combating anti-LGBT discrimination, hate crimes and America's most comprehensive laws protecting the transgender community. Today, New Jersey is also one of only three states - along with California and the District of Columbia - to provide paid family leave for same-sex couples.
"We could not have made these achievements without the hard work of the tireless members of the boards of Garden State Equality; our more than 140,000 members statewide, our allies, both national and local and of course our founder Steven Goldstein," said Peterpaul.
"As we move forward, we must be vigilant in protecting those achievements. Our work will continue as we fight for transgender rights, protection of our youth and our seniors. We must walk hand in hand with our brothers and sisters in the transgender community. Here is to many more decades of success for Garden State Equality and our community."