CATHEDRAL CITY — America’s first LGBT Veterans Memorial, located at the outdoor veteran’s chapel at Desert Memorial Park is well on its way to becoming the California LGBT Veterans Memorial, elevating it beyond the borders of Cathedral City.
Democratic state Assemblyman Eduardo Garcia, who represents the 56th Assembly District, introduced AB 2439, which calls for designating the local monument as the state’s official LGBT Veterans Memorial. The legislation passed unanimously in the state Assembly on Thursday.
“California must honor all the brave men and women who have served in our nation’s armed forces,” Garcia said following the vote. “This memorial is a testament to honor the contributions the LGBT community has made to the security of the United States. “The Cathedral City LGBT Veteran Memorial is the first of its kind within the entire nation and is well-deserving of this recognition.”
This feat would not have been possible without the dedicated efforts and vision of Tom Swann, AMVETs Post 66 as well as leadership, forward-thinking and support of the Palm Springs Cemetery District and Cathedral City, Garcia said.
The legislation now heads to the Senate.
“We are thrilled that the Assembly realizes the importance of this monument to veterans both gay and non-gay,” Mayor Pro Tem Pettis told Uken Report. “Recognizing those who paid the ultimate sacrifice is an essential part of our national spirit. We are hopeful the Senate will follow along. Assemblyman Garcia has been a strong advocate for this bill and we thank him for that.”
Garcia has received support from the city of Cathedral City, Alexander Hamilton Post 448, AMVETS Post 66, Veterans for Peace and the Palm Springs Cemetery Board of Trustees.
The City Council unanimously passed a resolution in support of AB 2439 in March.
Mayor Stan Henry and Pettis traveled to Sacramento on Thursday to meet with Garcia and lobby legislators to pass the proposed legislation.
On May 27, 2001 AMVETS Post 66 dedicated America’s first LGBT Veteran’s Memorial at Desert Memorial Park in Cathedral City. It has been heralded by four U.S. Presidents and three California governors,
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.
Presidents Gerald Ford, Bill Clinton, George Bush and Barack Obama have all sent special letters praising this memorial, as have three California Governors (Gray Davis, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jerry Brown twice).
California must honor all the brave men and women who have served in our nation’s armed forces. This memorial is a testament to honor the contributions the LGBT community has made to the security of the United States, Garcia said.
The 56th Assembly District comprises a number of cities and unincorporated communities in eastern Riverside County and Imperial County, including 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.