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The U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) voted for Betsy DeVos, nominee for Secretary of Education and billionaire pro-voucher and school choice advocate, to be moved out of committee to be confirmed by the full Senate. This is a major setback for LGBT students across the country. The vote was 12 to 11, along party lines. The HELP Committee heard comments from senators from both sides of the aisle discussing her lack of experience. DeVos and her family have a dedicated history to anti-LGBT bigotry and have donated over $200 million to GOP causes.

The Department of Education, specifically the Office of Civil Rights, has served as a champion for LGBT students across the country, including in those where gender identity is not explicitly named in state nondiscrimination protections. Her pro-voucher program advocacy will divert government funding for public schools into private schools and could force LGBT students into private schools where those students have limited to no rights protecting them on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Betsy DeVos is not the public education champion that the country's schools need; DeVos represents and advocates for the demolition of the public school system and equal access to an education.

Please take the 100 Days and Me pledge to stay informed, be vigilant, and help fight federal policies and legislation that threaten the safety, health and well-being of LGBT people.

January 31, 2017