This editorial is not about LGBT rights or human rights. This editorial is about the hypocrisy, grand standing, and jumping on the band wagon that, members of the Montgomery County Council are often very quick to do when they think they can score some political points because there no-one is to call them out on it. Germantown Pulse is sick of it.
Last week, the County Council unanimously approved Resolution No. 18-456 which was sponsored by Councilmember Nancy Navarro from District 4, and co-sponsored by all the remaining members. The measure “condemning anti-LGBT discrimination laws and calling on the County Executive to suspend official County travel to jurisdictions where those laws are in place.”
Specifically the resolution named North Carolina and Mississippi, as locales to which employees of Montgomery County should be banned from visiting for “non-essential work-related travel.”
Does Councilmember Navarro have a very short memory? Does she think the residents of Montgomery County have short memories? Does she not remember visiting Cuba for an “exploratory trip” in March?
Cuba, the country which “continues to repress dissent and discourage public criticism,” according to the first sentence of the Human Rights Watch 2016 essay on Cuba’s human rights violations. The Human Rights Watch essay goes on to say, “the [Cuban] government continues to rely on arbitrary detentions to harass and intimidate people who exercise their fundamental rights. The Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation, an independent human rights group that the government views as illegal, received more than 6,200 reports of arbitrary detentions from January through October 2015.”
Navarro, Councilmember Roger Berliner, and County Executive Ike Leggett visited the island nation — that will throw its own citizens in jail for disagreeing with the government — to “explore economic and cultural opportunities,” according to Navarro’s Website.
In a video on her website, Navarro talked about Cuba’s 100 percent literacy rate. So everyone in Cuba can read and write, as long as they don’t read and write anything that is critical of the government.
While in Cuba, Navarro said the delegation visited an LGBT rights organization “promoting an anti-homophobia campaign throughout Cuba.” By the way, Cuba still bans same-sex marriage and does not recognize same-sex couples, or joint adoption by same-sex couples.
And yet, last week because it is fashionable, Navarro and the County Council approved a resolution reading, “As a place that stands for equality and respect, Montgomery County should not support jurisdictions that have enacted laws that perpetuate hate, fear, and bigotry.” It is a good thing that the trip to Cuba wasn’t planned for May and not March.
Or perhaps, the Council would have added a caveat which reads “unless that jurisdiction is an exotic tropical island to which travel was forbidden for nearly half a century.”
If the councilmembers wanted to go back to Cuba for a follow-up visit, would it be approved? Or would it be on the condition that their flight to Cuba did not connect out of Charlotte, NC?
The phony baloney resolution is nothing more than political grand-standing and hypocrisy. Why is the County Council posturing and grand standing on an issue that does not directly affect the residents of Montgomery County?
Here in Montgomery County, we have already taken care of making sure we respect all people equally. According to Equality Maryland, a civil rights organization concerned with LGBT issues in Maryland, Montgomery County is one of just four jurisdictions that provide anti-discrimination laws for transgender people, the others are Baltimore City, Baltimore County, and Howard County.
Indeed, the State of Maryland does not currently have anti-discrimination laws protecting transgender people. If Navarro and the County Council were truly serious would they break ties with Frederick County? Would they stop all dealings with Prince George’s County? Would they not visit Annapolis?
The hyperbole and outlandishness of that last paragraph is at the same level of the hyperbole and outlandishness of Resolution No. 18-456. It is a specious argument that doesn’t deserve the time it took to read it or write it, exactly like Resolution No. 18-456.
The Germantown Pulse has to believe that the Councilmember Navarro and the rest of the County Council researched and did due diligence prior to putting forth this resolution. They must have used County resources — employee hours and legal counsel to make sure the wording was correct and legal. Isn’t there anything more important that the Council could be doing with their time besides political grand standing?
Have we solved the financial problems facing MCPS? Have we figured out how we can attract and retain businesses to Montgomery County? Has our tax base increased so much that the Wynne Case is no longer a concern? Have we taken care of the panhandling issues in Montgomery County? Have we fixed our infrastructure problems? Have we solved our transportation issues in Montgomery County?
Germantown Pulse urges the County Council to keep its focus on Montgomery County. With two murders of transgender people in the County within the last eight months, clearly there is more to be done for transgender population here at home.
Germantown Pulse urges the Montgomery County Council to worry about Montgomery County and let North Carolina worry about North Carolina.