Sunday, May 28, 2017

Betsy DeVos Continues to Be An Enemy Of LGBT People

The anti-LGBT agenda of the Trump/Pence regime ranges from the petty - the White House posting of  a photo of all the NATO countries' leaders’ spouses  omitted the name of Luxembourg’s Gauthier Destenay, the husband of the only openly gay prime minister in the world, Xavier Bettel - to truly disturbing as embodied by Trump's reversal of Obama administration non-discrimination executive orders.  In the realm of public education things are particularly frightening with Betsy DeVos, a long time religious zealot from a family that has provided millions and millions of dollars to anti-LGBT hate group organizations such as Family Research Council (her mother is on the board of a major contributor to FRC) and continues to support conversion therapy.  Now, DeVos is making it clear that under the smoke screen of "states rights" federal funding will be available to schools that openly discriminate against LGBT students and children of LGBT parents.  DeVos has about as much empathy for members of the LGBT community as the Inquisition had for Jews and supposed heretics.  A piece in Huffington Post looks at the always toxic DeVos.  Here are excerpts (Note, she suggests that racial discrimination might be OK with her as well):
The video of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos confirming that she would allow private schools to receive federal dollars while they blatantly discriminate against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students is simply stunning. Congresswoman Katherine M. Clark, a Democrat from Massachusetts, asked DeVos point blank in a hearing yesterday if she would allow federal funds to go to a school that bans LGBT students or students with gay or lesbian parents, and she used the Lighthouse Christian Academy in Indiana as an example.
DeVos, in an eerily calm manner, said that it would be up to the states to make the decision to allow “parents to make choices” when it comes to putting their kids in a hostile anti-LGBTQ environment, where lies and distortions that lead to bullying and violence are taught to children about queer people, while receiving federal money in the form of vouchers.
Even when Clark raised the issue of a school that might discriminate against African-Americans, DeVos, after mentioning something vague about civil rights protections being “broadly applicable,” still deferred to “parents making choices” as the most important principle. DeVos made it clear that it was up to the state to decide, and, as Clark pointed out, couldn’t give “one example,” in which a state’s discriminatory practice in education would be stood up to by the Department of Education in the form of withholding money.
This is the same Betsy DeVos who some media outlets told us just before her confirmation hearings had gone through some sort of transformation, or was always, in fact, supportive of LGBTQ rights and was simply misunderstood. It was an odd, convenient narrative coming at a time when she needed it.
As with Trump himself, just because Betsy DeVos might help out her well-off Republican gay friends ― who might return the favor by helping her in other ways ― doesn’t mean she’s not devoted to her family’s longtime goals, nor to putting religious beliefs before LGBTQ rights. While she gave McNalley and his husband a reference letter in their successful effort to adopt a child as gay parents, she also financially contributed to the campaign of GOP legislator Andrea LaFontaine ― a zealous religious conservative ― who spearheaded a draconian Michigan law passed in 2015, weeks before the Supreme Court’s landmark marriage equality ruling, that allows state-funded faith-based adoption agencies to turn away gay and lesbian couples based on their sexual orientationThat law seems right in line with DeVos’ statements yesterday, refusing to rule out giving federal money to schools that discriminate against LGBTQ students and parents.
DeVos has said in the past that she wanted public education to “advance God’s kingdom.”  . . . . she was listed as a vice president of her mother’s foundation, which is a major donor to anti-LGBTQ hate groups Focus on the Family and Family Research Council. 
DeVos claimed during her confirmation hearings, “I fully embrace equality” and rejected “conversion therapy,” which is promoted by many of the groups to which her family donates.  But once in office, DeVos went right along with the Trump administration action of rescinding guidelines for the treatment of transgender students, put in place by the Obama administration.
And now we have her clear statements on allowing schools to get federal funds even if they discriminate against LGBTQ people ― or any group.
Whatever Betsy DeVos might or might not truly believe really doesn’t matter. It is her public statements, and her actions, that are the only important barometers. And so far, she’s proven to be an enemy of LGBTQ people.

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