SACRAMENTO – Legislation that would make the LGBTQ Veterans Memorial in Desert Memorial Park in Cathedral City the state’s official LGBTQ Veterans Memorial is now officially on Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk awaiting his signature.
If Gov. Brown refuses to sign it, which is unlikely, it would be one of the biggest upsets of the legislative year.
To date, AB 2439 has won unanimous, bipartisan aye votes in both chambers of the Legislature.
Democratic Assemblyman Eduardo Garcia of Coachella has been a tireless advocate in getting the measure passes, earning bipartisan support for the bill and shepherding it to Gov. Brown’s desk.
“This memorial, stemming from local visionaries and leaders, is the first of its kind honoring the contributions of our valiant LGBTQ service members in the entire United States,” Garcia told Uken Report. “We can never thank our veterans enough for all of their sacrifices, and we are now incredibly close to actualizing this next significant national veteran milestone within our very own community.”
Cathedral City Mayor Stan Henry and Mayor Pro Tem Greg Pettis flew to Sacramento earlier this this to help lobby for the legislation.
“We are excited that this monument and all it represents will soon become law,” Pettis told Uken Report. “This has taken years for LGBTQ veterans to be recognized but it has taken two visionary leaders, Assemblyman Eduardo Garcia and Gov. Jerry Brown to make it a reality. Great thanks to both of them and to the thousands of veterans we honor in Cathedral City.”
In 2001, AMVETS Post 66, in partnership with the Palm Springs Cemetery District, dedicated the LGBTQ Veterans Memorial at Desert Memorial Park in Cathedral City. The monument was the first memorial in the U.S. in honor of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer or questioning veterans.
Over the years, commendations honoring the memorial have been received from Presidents Gerald R. Ford, Bill Clinton, George Bush and Barack Obama, as well as California Governors Gray Davis, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Gov.Jerry Brown.
The memorial is an obelisk alongside a bronze plaque with minimal maintenance costs. Desert Memorial Park cuts the grass; AMVETS Post 66 polishes the granite and cleans the memorial when it gets vandalized. Together, Desert Memorial Park and AMVETS Post 66 will continue to maintain the memorial. A second bronze plaque will be installed indicating that the memorial is the State of California LGBT Veteran’s Memorial.
Gov. Brown has the power of the pen at his disposal.
Sponsored by the city of Cathedral City, AB 2439 has received support from respected veterans organizations such as the National Guard Association of California, Vietnam Veterans of America-California State Council, AMVETS- Department of California, American Legion- Department of California and the Military Officers Association of America- California State Council and the California Association of County Veterans Service Officers.
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