New Jersey General Assembly Honors Victims of Orlando Shooting During Thursday’s Voting Session

Members Forego Traditional Moment of Silence, Noting “Silence is Deadly”

The New Jersey General Assembly paused during Thursday’s voting session at the Statehouse in Trenton to honor the victims of the Orlando shooting tragedy that targeted the LGBTQ community, with members of the Democratic Caucus wearing nametags bearing the names of each victim.

Assembly members Reed Gusciora and Tim Eustace, the only two openly gay members of the Legislature, took a moment at the start of the voting session to say a few words in remembrance of the victims. However, they chose to forego the traditional moment of silence in honor of the prevailing sentiment that has emerged in the wake of the tragedy – “Silence is deadly.”

“Americans were affected this Sunday by the deaths of 49 people in Orlando,” said Eustace (D-Bergen/Passaic). “An American used an assault weapon on other Americans. He went into an LGBT club on Latino night and created a massacre. I ask that we remember that each life has a story, a meaning and a worth. I ask that we remind each other to love our kids; teach them to love; love your neighbors and let’s provide a safer world. I commend members of the U.S. Senate for forgoing a moment of silence and demanding an assault gun ban. While we have one here in New Jersey, it’s time for a national assault gun ban. Let this be the last massacre we endure.”

“This year marks the 40th anniversary of Stevie Wonder’s ‘Songs in the Key of Life.’ The lyrics of one particular song acknowledged the hate going around in the world and that ‘love is in need of love today.’ In light of this week’s tragic events, this theme seems as relevant today as it did 40 years ago,” said Gusciora (D-Mercer/Hunterdon). “Sunday, 102 young people were gunned down in cold blood in Orlando; 49 people were murdered because of who they are. Meanwhile, religious fanatics claim that killing in the name of god will somehow lead them to heaven and political leaders claim that attacking individuals or certain groups will somehow unite us. In the end it was indeed a tragedy that so many lives were lost. Our prayers of love are with the victims but we must not forget our responsibility to protect all our citizens and prevent future tragedies.”