@pgirlnyc / Instagram

Constituents of a New Jersey Democrat are calling for her resignation after sharing a meme mocking Easter to social media. Councilwoman Paula Gilligan of Glen Rock Borough shared a meme to Instagram that said, “Easter eggs are aborted chicken babies that are painted in drag for small children to worship. Happy Easter!” The post received backlash from a number of area residents, with one person posting on Instagram, “This is the ‘Happy Easter’ message we get from Paula Gilligan. She represents a town filled with families from all religious backgrounds. Will she post any other messages disrespecting other faiths, or is her hate only towards Catholics?” There were calls for her resignation from the council, which is all-female and Democrat.

Gilligan released a statement to the municipal website, clarifying that the post was meant to be a jab at “personhood laws” and not Easter. “Currently 40 bills with personhood language have been proposed in 16 states. Personhood language refers to legal language that would codify the dangerous notion that from the moment of fertilization, an egg should be legally recognized as a person with full constitutional rights. This legislation supports an extremist political position that I disagree with. It is my personal opinion that people have the right to control their bodies and their lives,” she wrote. She also reiterated that the post was on her personal page and not meant to be a representation of the views of the mayor or other council members. “To those who feel it mocks your holiday traditions, that was not my intention.  Wishing all who celebrate a peaceful, joyous holiday,” she concluded. The council and the town’s mayor, Kristine Morieko, released a statement apologizing for the post. “We have been made aware of a post that appeared on one of our Council Member’s personal Instagram stories. This post invoked Easter, the holiest day of the year in the Christian calendar, in a point about two issues that have nothing to do with Easter.  As Mayor and members of the Borough Council, we want to apologize to everyone who was offended by this post,” the statement began. The council stated that “everyone’s religious beliefs and traditions must be treated with respect” and “should not be the subject of jokes.” The statement ended with a call to “support and respect each other.” The statement originally did not include Gilligan’s signature, but it was later added.

Despite the statement, a number of people attended the following council meeting on Wednesday to protest Gilligan and call for her resignation. The meeting was opened by Gilligan, who apologized for the post. “I apologize. It was never ever my intention to offend anyone,” she said, being met with scoffing by the audience. Melissa Heuss called the post “wildly offensive,” and questioned Gilligan’s sincerity. Maria Dolan said the meme was “religious intolerance on display.” “You created this, Ms. Gilligan,” she said. The Republican council of the nearby town of Fair Lawn also had members in attendance, with chairman Joe Nasso calling it “horrible.” Others defended the councilwoman, with some calling the response to her post “hateful.” To date, Gilligan has not resigned her position.

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