July 13, 2018 at 9:51 am EDT | by Blake Chambers
Delaware guv fails to issue Pride proclamation, triggering backlash
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Delaware Gov. John Carney was criticized for failing to issue a Pride proclamation.

The administration of Delaware Gov. John Carney has been receiving criticism for its handling of LGBTQ issues as of late.

Most of the frustration from LGBT and other progressive activists concerns the administration’s handling of Regulation 225, which would mandate that transgender students request permission from a parent or guardian before changing their gender identity in school. Originally, the regulation would have allowed Delaware students to self-identify their gender and race without parents’ knowledge.

But a new contentious issue has emerged after Gov. Carney declined to issue a proclamation recognizing June as Pride month.

Mark Purpura of Equality Delaware criticized the administration on Facebook for failing to issue the proclamation.

“I don’t know why he refused to celebrate Pride month,” said Purpura. “But his recent actions raise serious questions as to whether he supports LGBTQ equality at all, or the platform of the Delaware Democratic Party.”

In response, Jonathan Starkey, communications director for Gov. Carney, said that the governor believes in full LGBTQ equality in Delaware, which is why he initiated a regulation last year that sought to help protect Delaware students from discrimination based on protected characteristics, including gender identity.

“When the governor asked Education Secretary Susan Bunting to begin the process of creating Regulation 225, he acted on the simple premise that no child should be made to feel uncomfortable or unwelcome at school because of who they are,” Starkey said. “The regulation itself would require schools to work with students and families to provide access to facilities that correspond with a student’s gender identity. And it would require that districts create consistent anti-discrimination policies statewide and submit those policies to the Department of Education.”

Starkey also said that Gov. Carney’s goal from the beginning was to protect Delaware children from discrimination at school, so they could focus on their education and that is still his goal today. Starkey said the administration understands that there has been significant disagreement over how to best protect Delaware students and that the governor and Secretary Bunting are taking public feedback seriously when making a decision on how to move forward. The public comment period for Regulation 225 ended on July 6. The ACLU of Delaware asserts the proposed regulation would increase the odds that transgender students will face violence in schools and family rejection.

“Governor Carney formally recognized Pride Month by proclamation last year,” Starkey said in response to the criticism over the governor’s failure to issue a proclamation this year. “We did not intend, in any way, to diminish the significant contributions of Delaware’s LGBTQ community.”

Additionally, Starkey mentioned that a gif was posted on Carney’s Facebook page on June 22. The post says, “Happy Pride Month!” with the hashtag #PrideMonth.

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