CATHEDRAL CITY — Assembly Bill 2439 which, proposes to designate the LGBTQ Veterans Memorial at Desert Memorial Park in Cathedral City as the official state LGBTQ veterans memorial, is now poised to receive support from Supervisors — and become Riverside County’s official memorial honoring the LGBTQ veterans, too.
Riverside County Fourth District Supervisor V. Manuel “Manny” Perez, a tireless advocate for all veterans, will ask the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday to authorize the chairman of the Board to forward a letter of support to the bill’s author, the Riverside County state legislative delegation and the area’s Sacramento advocates – and designate this same memorial as Riverside County’s official memorial honoring the LGBTQ veterans who have served with honor and distinction in the Armed Forces of the United States.
California currently has one official veterans memorial — the California Vietnam Veterans Memorial. It is located on the State Capitol grounds.
To date, AB 2439 has won unanimous, bipartisan aye votes in both chambers of the Legislature, where it awaits a final vote in the Assembly (in concurrence of amendments) for passage in order for the measure to be considered by the Governor.
The measure, AB 2439, has been advanced by Democratic Assemblyman Eduardo Garcia of Coachella and co-authored by Republican Assemblyman Chad Mayes of Yucca Valley, among others.
“This memorial is important to LGBTQ veterans, who deserve to be recognized for their bravery, contributions and sacrifices,” Perez said. “Support for AB 2439 will ensure that all veterans of the Armed Forces who served honorably are recognized for their service above self.”
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.
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 Jerry Brown.
Assembly Bill 2439 will establish the LGBTQ Veterans Memorial as the official LGBTQ Veterans Memorial of California. California would become the first state in the nation to recognize an LGBTQ veterans memorial.
“Elevating this local memorial site to an official state-level landmark will honor our brave LGBTQ veterans,” Perez said. “It will also be an honor for the host city, Cathedral City, and Riverside County.”
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.
- V. Manuel Perez: Supervisor V. Manuel Perez
- LGBTQ Veterans Memorial: Owned by the author