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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

Meet gay-friendly Betsy DeVos (?!!)

Greg McNeilly, right, a Republican operative in Michigan, and his husband, Doug Meeks, received a testament of support from Betsy DeVos when adopting their son. Photo: Brittany Greeson/New York Times

After running very hostile stories about Betsy DeVos, President Trump’s nominee for Education secretary, the New York Times reports that DeVos has a gay- and transgender-friendly record that goes back to the late ’90s.

Her wealthy mother and even wealthier in-laws are social conservatives, but DeVos is not, according to the story.

When Greg McNeilly, a longtime Republican operative in Michigan, and his husband filed paperwork in 2015 to adopt a child, it included a warm testament of support from a seemingly unlikely source: Betsy DeVos, the conservative school choice advocate whose family has donated heavily to groups that oppose gay rights. As a couple, she wrote, the two shared “a close, caring relationship where they treat each other with respect.”

As chairwoman of the Michigan Republican Party in the late ’90s, DeVos “came to the aid of a transgender woman who wanted to use the women’s restroom at a call center, upsetting some of the other women there,” friends told the Times.

When Ken Mehlman, a former Republican National Committee chairman, was collecting signatures from Republicans for a 2015 legal brief that argued in favor of a constitutional right for same-sex marriage, he turned to Ms. DeVos for help in recruiting people in Michigan. She agreed, friends said.

DeVos has attended at least one same-sex wedding.

Despite vocal opposition from many education and civil rights groups, DeVos is likely to be confirmed as Education secretary tomorrow, predicts Ed Week. It could be a straight party-line vote.

While not a big DeVos fan, Ed Post’s Peter Cunningham is encouraged by the choice of Maryland education advocate Jason Botel as a White House education advisor.

Botel taught for three years at Booker T. Washington Middle School in West Baltimore, reports the Baltimore Sun. He went on to “found KIPP Ujima Village Academy, an academically rigorous charter school in West Baltimore,” manage KIPP schools in the city and then direct MarylandCAN, an advocacy group.

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