SACRAMENTO – On the same day the U.S. Supreme Court allowed President Donald Trump’s transgender military ban to go into effect, Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia, D-Coachella, used the blow to the LGBTQ community to herald the efforts of the late Cathedral City Mayor Gregory S. Pettis.

Pettis, who died Jan. 15, was an ardent champion of LGBTQ rights.

Garcia juxtaposed the stark contrast between the regressive direction of the Federal Government and California’s inclusive values. Garcia, who easily won re-election in November, adamantly opposes the Jan. 22 Supreme Court ruling allowing the implementation of discriminatory policies against transgender individuals in the military. Garcia notes

LGBTQ activists called the ban cruel and irrational.

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Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia

“Discrimination in any form is intolerable; it is most especially unconscionable when directed toward our U.S. military, our heroic service members, or prospective service members,” Garcia said in a prepared statement. “This unjust Supreme Court ruling follows in stark contrast to California, where we just celebrated our newly designated LGBTQ Veterans Memorial; a historic milestone for inclusion.”

AB 2439, Garcia’s legislation designating Desert Memorial Park’s LGBTQ Veterans Memorial as the state’s official LGBTQ Veteran Memorial, went into effect on the first of this year. AMVETS Post 66 Commander Tom Swann, The Palm Springs Cemetery District and the City of Cathedral City were instrumental to the bill’s success.

“I commend all our local leaders and organizers who rallied to achieve this feat and would like to offer a special reflection in memory of the late Cathedral City Mayor Greg Pettis. Mayor Pettis, the Coachella Valley’s first openly gay elected official, was one the memorial’s fiercest advocates. He is revered as a champion for inclusion and will be remembered for his vast legacy of public service.”

Pettis and former Cathedral City Mayor Stan Henry traveled to Sacramento in 2018 to help lobby for the state’s official LGBTQ Veteran Memorial.

banMayor Pettis had previously said that the memorial, “recognizes thousands of people that have served honorably and need to be recognized.”

Refusing to let the federal ban dim the light of Pettis’ efforts, Garcia will present an Adjournment in Memory honoring the life of Mayor Pettis during Thursday’s Assembly floor session.

Garcia serves as the chairperson of the Assembly Committee on Water, Parks and Wildlife.  He represents the 56th district, which comprises the cities and communities of Blythe, Brawley, Bermuda Dunes, Calexico, Calipatria, Cathedral City, Coachella, Desert Hot Springs, El Centro, Holtville, Imperial, Indio, Mecca, Oasis, North Shore, Salton Sea, Thermal, Thousand Palms, and Westmorland.