Monday, February 13, 2006

Gov. Romney: Disband "Governor's Commission on Gay & Lesbian Youth"

We read in Bay Windows a few weeks ago that Governor Romney has budgeted $100,000 for the so-called "Safe Schools" program in Massachusetts. While we're glad he lowered this from previous years, we say that even $1 is too much for the promotion of homosexuality to vulnerable teenagers.

The Governor has it in his powers (through executive order) to eliminate the "Governor's Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth." And its director knows this. Why doesn't he do this? You can call the Governor at 617-725-4005, or email him.

[From Bay Windows, 2-2-06:]
Gov. Mitt Romney seems determined to gut the state’s groundbreaking Safe Schools program, created and championed by his predecessors Govs. William Weld and Paul Cellucci. In his Fiscal Year 2007 budget proposal, released Jan. 25, Romney proposed cutting the Department of Public Health (DPH) funding for the Safe Schools program from the $350,000 it receives in the current fiscal year to just $100,000. In the current fiscal year, the Safe Schools program also receives an additional $75,000 from the Department of Education (DOE), but Romney’s FY07 budget has no specific funding from DOE set aside for the programs. Kathleen Henry, chair of the Governor’s Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth, said it is possible that there could be some funding for Safe Schools in the DOE budget that is not specifically earmarked, but she said there was no way to discern that from the governor’s proposal....

While last year’s gains were modest at best, Henry said the Governor’s Commission plans to ask the Legislature later this month to restore the full $1.6 million in funding that the programs received prior to the cuts. She said the additional funds will be in large part targeted at what advocates believe are some of the highest risk LGBT youth, LGBT young people of color....

Romney proposed modest spending increases in his past two budget proposals, yet he spent last summer working to defund the programs recommended by what at least nominally is his own commission. [This thanks to efforts by Article 8/MassResistance.] His approach to LGBT youth issues has been such a marked difference from his predecessors that some advocates are thankful for even small favors. “Our major thing with this particular governor is to remind ourselves and people that we exist at the governor’s discretion, at his whim, and he could do away with us in a heartbeat if he wished to, and that he doesn’t gives us the platform that we need to then go to the Legislature and educate those budget folks as to what LGBT youth needs are,” said Henry.

MassResistance has left several voice mails for the "Chair" of the Governor's Commission on Gay & Lesbian Youth, Kathleen Henry. For some reason, she has not gotten back to us yet. All we wanted to know was:
(1) How exactly the Commission planned to spend the $1.6 million she's hoping the Legislature will give it next year; and
(2) How many "Gay/Straight Alliance" clubs there are in our Massachusetts high schools now, and would she please send us that list.

Now, as a state employee, she is bound to answer this call for information. Maybe she'll tell you? You can reach Ms. Henry at: State House, Room 280, Boston, MA 02133, phone 617-725-4000 ext. 35312. (You can tell her that the propaganda on her publications page needs updating: It's all 6-13 years old.)