June 19, 2017

Rep. Watson Coleman Raises First-ever Pride Flag in Middlesex County for “Hope, Commitment & Solidarity for All People”

Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman joined the Middlesex Democratic Organization’s LGBT Caucus to raise the county’s first-ever Pride flag in a ceremony held on June 17.

“Each year when we pause to recognize Black History Month, Women’s History Month, Hispanic Heritage Month and in June, Pride Month – we are pausing in celebration of America.” said Watson Coleman. “What makes America great is the diversity of who we are and how we each bring our gifts to the enterprise of making our nation better.”

Held at the Middlesex County Administration Building, the program brought together state and local elected officials and over three dozen county residents to celebrate Pride Month and honor and remember the 49 men and women victims of the Pulse night club shooting in Orlando.

In remarks, Michael Spadoro, Chairperson of the Middlesex Democratic Organization's LGBT Caucus, recognized the flag as the first of its kind in Middlesex county, “one of the most diverse in the country.” He provided a brief history of Pride Month which was celebrated for the 26th time in Asbury Park two weeks ago.

“Events like these bring us one step closer to equality. It's great to know that our representatives 'have our back' here in Middlesex County,” said Spadoro.

At the ceremony, Watson Coleman announced her plans to reintroduce the Customer Non-Discrimination Act in Congress. This legislation would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to prohibit discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity in public accommodations. Additionally, it would update the public spaces and services covered in current law to include retail stores, services such as banks and legal services, healthcare providers, and transportation services – updates that would strengthen existing protections for everyone.

In March, Watson Coleman introduced an amendment to Scholarships for Opportunity Results Act calling for the protection of LGBT students from discrimination in private and religious schools that receive government funding. The Republican-controlled U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform struck down the amendment.

”We must remember that we are a country of laws and we don’t take inclusion lightly. Government has a distinct role in protecting us and lifting us up,” said Watson Coleman at Saturday’s event. “We want to lift hope, commitment, and solidarity for all people.”

Watson Coleman is a member of the Congressional Equality Caucus and the Transgender Equality Task Force. For more photos from this event, visit the Congresswoman’s Facebook page here.