Phil Murphy Attacks Monkeypox Discrimination

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2 mins read

TRENTON, NJ – New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy is issuing a warning to anyone who dares to discriminate against those who contract the Monkeypox virus. The virus, according to the World Health Organization has been affecting homosexual men since its resurgence this year.

This summer, the World Health Organization recommended gay and bisexual men limit sexual partners to reduce the spread of monkeypox

“Today, we are addressing the harmful discrimination and bias-based harassment folks are experiencing due to monkeypox. There is no excuse for any kind of retaliation on members of our communities who are suffering from the virus,” said Governor Murphy. “These FAQs are an example of our commitment to making sure all New Jersey residents, regardless of race, gender, sexual identity, or health status, are treated equally and with respect. My Administration will continue to prioritize the health and safety of all of our communities.”

Governor Murphy and Acting Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin announced today that the Division on Civil Rights (DCR) within the Attorney General’s Office has published FAQs for the public about New Jersey residents’ rights and protections against discrimination and bias-based harassment related to the “monkeypox” virus, as well as information about how to file a civil rights complaint with DCR if members of the public are victims of discrimination.

“Among other things, the LAD prohibits discrimination and harassment based on actual or perceived disability. The FAQs make clear that if an individual has any physical infirmity—such as flu-like symptoms, swollen lymph nodes, exhaustion, muscle aches and backache, headache, sore throat, nasal congestion, cough, and/or a rash that often begins on the face and spreads to other parts of the body—caused by hMPXV, that infirmity would qualify as a disability under the LAD,” the governor’s office said. “The FAQs also reaffirm that the LAD prohibits discrimination and harassment based on other LAD-protected characteristics, including sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression. That remains true when the discriminatory or harassing conduct stems from concerns related to hMPXV.”

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“Today, the Murphy Administration, the Attorney General’s office, and the Division on Civil Rights have made it crystal clear that we will not tolerate bias or discrimination against those suffering from monkeypox,” said Acting Attorney General Platkin. “As cases of monkeypox continue to rise across the State and the country, we remain firmly committed to holding accountable anyone who discriminates against or harasses those suffering from this virus..”

“At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, DCR released COVID-19 FAQs and resources to educate the public about their rights and protections against discrimination and bias-based harassment related to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Rosemary DiSavino, Deputy Director of DCR. “As the state’s civil rights agency, it is our duty to respond to the hMPXV health crisis with these FAQs to unequivocally state that New Jersey will not allow discrimination. DCR will always work to respond to what is occurring in all of our communities, especially to protect those who face marginalization and discrimination.”

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