Ordinance 2492: Obscene Material Definitions

(NOTE: In line with the newspaper’s disclosure policy*, I am a member of the Roselle Park Diversity Committee)

Wording in a law that has been on Roselle Park’s books for at least three decades is being considered to be removed through Ordinance 2492.

Borough Code 3-8 determines what is considered obscene material and defines it in order to prohibit such conduct or material from public view. In Section 3-8.3, five definitions are provided for Communication, Material, Offensive Nakedness, Performance, and Sexual Conduct. It is in the last definition of sexual conduct that two of the ten (10) examples set out were addressed by the Roselle Park Diversity Committee at their April 2017 meeting.

In discussions with mayor emeritus Joseph DeIorio, a member of the Diversity Committee was made aware of the inclusion of the words ‘homosexuality’ and ‘lesbianism’ as examples of what is considered sexual conduct in Roselle Park. The advisory committee determined in conversation among members that the way the code was written, the law defines homosexuality and lesbianism as an example of sexual conduct. While all other examples cited in the definition section are actual acts, only homosexuality and lesbianism address sexual orientation, not an explicit act. The committee, in its advisory capacity, recommended that the words ‘homosexuality’ and ‘lesbianism’ be removed from Borough Code.

The matter was brought up by Third Ward Councilman William Fahoury, the council liaison for the committee. In its review, council advised Borough Attorney Richard Huxford to have the borough’s insurance provider NJiiF (New Jersey Intergovernmental Insurance Fund) review the proposed change to make sure that other terms might need to be removed and determine if the change was acceptable. At the May 18th municipal meeting, it was reported that NJiiF agreed with the changes and that all other wording would remain.

The public hearing and vote for Ordinance 2492 is scheduled for the June 1st Mayor & Council meeting in Borough Hall at 7 p.m.

A copy of the ordinance is included below:

Download RP Ordinance 2492