President Joe Biden sends letter of support for LGBTQ Veterans Memorial

CATHEDRAL CITY — President Joe Biden is the sixth U.S. president to send a letter of support for America’s first LGBTQ Veterans Memorial, according to Thomas “Tom” Swann Hernandez, a Marine Corps veteran and a nationally recognized veteran and gay rights advocate.

“It took almost two years and six attempts before President Joe Biden sent a special letter honoring the California LGBTQ Veterans Memorial,” Swann Hernandez stated in his newsletter.

In August 2018, then-Governor Brown signed into law AB 2439, Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia’s legislation designating Desert Memorial Parks’ LGBTQ Veterans Memorial located in Cathedral City as the state’s official LGBTQ Veteran Memorial. The successful passage of this measure made California the first state in the United States of America to dedicate a memorial recognizing LGBTQ veterans.

AB 2439 was a bipartisan measure endorsed by the California Department of Veteran Affairs.

This state and national milestone was made possible by a long history of leadership and vision on the local level. Along with AMVETS Post 66, the Palm Springs Cemetery District dedicated the memorial on May 27, 2001. Significantly, the Palm Springs Cemetery District Board’s vote to approve this very controversial proposal came nine years before the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

In 2004, a previous legislative attempt to establish this, authored by Former State Sen. Christine Kehoe, was vetoed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Presidents Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama and now Joe Biden have sent special letters of recognition and support for the local memorial that is featured at Desert Memorial Park in Cathedral City. Additionally, four California governors and Sen. Dianne Feinstein have all sent special letters.

President Donald Trump was given a request for a letter, and he declined,” Hernandez, Commander of AMVETS Post 6, said in his newsletter.






On July 4 AMVETS Post 66 presented the President with an award plaque. Biden wrote the longest letter about the memorial and the letter is dated Oct. 3, 2022.



Image Sources

  • LGBT Veterans Memorial: Discover Cathedral City