Arizona Gov Vetoes Anti-LGBTQ Education Bill

Gov. Doug Ducey of Arizona vetoed a bill that would have prohibited any inclusion of LGBTQ topics or history in schools

In a somewhat surprising move, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has vetoed legislation that would have curtailed the state’s sex education laws and would have prohibited any mention of LGBTQ issues or history.

In a statement, the governor called the bill, SB 1456, “overly broad and vague” adding he was concerned about “unintended consequences.”

From Goshen News:

The proposed law, Senate Bill 1456, would have barred all discussions about gender identity, sexual orientation or HIV/AIDS in sex education classes unless parents are notified in advance and specifically opt in for the instruction.

The proposal applied outside of sex ed classes as well, requiring parents to agree to have their children learn about historical events such as a discussion of the modern gay rights movement that sprang from the 1969 Stonewall riots in New York.

It also banned any sex ed classes before 5th grade, which opponents have said will put young students who now learn about “good touch-bad touch” to avoid molestation at greater risk.

Although he vetoed the bill, Ducey did issue an executive order requiring schools to post sex education course materials in advance online. He also ordered there to be early notice of school board meetings where sex ed might be discussed.

Democratic lawmakers in the state opposed the legislation saying it was dangerous for already-marginalized LGBTQ youth.

Kathy Hoffman, superintendent of schools for Arizona, publicly opposed the bill as well calling for the veto. And she applauded his move today.

Dr. Rachel Levine Becomes 1st Transgender Senate-Confirmed Appointee In History

Dr. Rachel Levine could become the first transgender federal official confirmed by the Senate.
Dr. Rachel Levine could become the first transgender federal official confirmed by the Senate.
Dr. Rachel Levine (image via Twitter)

Dr. Rachel Levine was confirmed today by the U.S. Senate as assistant secretary of health at the Department of Health and Human Services.

By a vote of 52-48, Levine made history as the first openly transgender federal official to be confirmed by the Senate.

Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Susan Collins (R-ME) voted yes along with all Senate Democrats.

Levine was previously Pennsylvania’s secretary of health, where she led the commonwealth’s COVID-19 response.

LGBTQ advocacy groups applauded the news.

Liz Seaton, policy director for the National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund:

“Her qualifications as a physician and Surgeon General of Pennsylvania and her experience dealing with the public health issues affecting our country today made her an incredibly qualified candidate for this position. Our country will be in good hands as we face unprecedented health challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic to the epidemic of opioid addiction and the longstanding HIV/AIDS epidemic.”

Lambda Legal CEO Kevin Jennings:

“The Senate’s confirmation of Dr. Levine marks the return of science, competence, and empathy to one of the most important institutions in our government and at one of the most critical public health moments in our nation’s history. Throughout her impressive career as a doctor and public servant, Dr. Levine has demonstrated a commitment to equity in health care and an understanding of how public health is inextricably linked to social justice.”

And Mayor Annise Parker, President & CEO of LGBTQ Victory Institute, said the following about her confirmation:

“President Biden committed to appointing our nation’s most qualified leaders to tackle the pandemic and he delivered in choosing Dr. Levine.

“Yet the importance of this moment extends well-beyond the health of our nation alone. At a time when hateful politicians are weaponizing trans lives for their own perceived political gain, Dr. Levine’s confirmation lends focus to the contributions trans people make to our nation and deflates absurd arguments calling for their exclusion.

“Her experience leading the health department in Pennsylvania will serve our country well and her unique perspective regarding healthcare for trans people will be invaluable.”

Historic Stonewall Inn Could Become Another COVID-19 Casualty

The historic Stonewall Inn (image via GoFundMe)

The Stonewall Inn, birthplace of the historic ‘Stonewall uprising’ in 1969, could become another casualty of the coronavirus pandemic.

After being shuttered for months due to the COVID-19 health threat, the owners of the venue launched a GoFundMe campaign writing, “The Stonewall Inn faces an uncertain future and we are in need of community support!”

The Stonewall riots – which stretched over three nights beginning on June 28, 1969 – became a defining moment in LGBTQ history when patrons became tired of police raids and stood up to the police brutality.

The site has become so ingrained in the DNA of the fight for LGBTQ rights, the Stonewall Inn became the first LGBTQ historic site to be designated a national monument in 2016.

“Stonewall will be our first national monument to tell the story of the struggle for LGBT rights,” said President Obama at the induction of the Stonewall Inn as a national monument. “I believe our national parks should reflect the full story of our country, the richness, and diversity and uniquely American spirit that has always defined us.”

Stonewall Inn becomes a national monument in 2016 (photo: Flickr/Interior DeptCC License)

Intoning the “brave souls who first stood up for their rights and the rights of others,” the owners candidly ask for help in saving “one of the LGBTQ+ communities most iconic institutions.”

“Our doors have been closed for over three months to ensure the health, safety, and well-being of patrons, staff, and the community,” reads the appeal from the owners on their GoFundMe page. “Even in the best of times it can be difficult to survive as a small business and we now face an uncertain future.”

“We resurrected the Stonewall Inn once after it had been shuttered – and we stand ready to do it again – with your help,” the owners continue. “We worked diligently to resurrect it as a safe space for the community and to keep the Stonewall Inn at the epicenter of the fight for the LGBTQ+ rights movement.”

Launched on June 13, the campaign has raised just over $19,000 at this writing, with a goal of $50,000.

A separate crowdfunding campaign was launched in early April to help support the staff and employees of the Stonewall Inn. That effort has garnered over $22,000 in donations to date.

In addition to running the tavern, the owners also operate the Stonewall Gives Back Initiative, an approved IRC 501(c)(3).

The non-profit charitable organization is committed to eliminating the social intolerance that is profoundly impacting the lives of LGBTQ citizens throughout America and abroad through awareness campaigns, educational programming, fundraising and candid public dialogue.

The Stonewall Gives Back Initiative supports grassroots organizations scattered across the country and especially those in communities where progress toward equality has been slow and the negative impact of ongoing acts of discrimination and harassment can no longer be tolerated.