BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The Pride Center of Western New York and Evergreen Health announced Tuesday that Governor Kathy Hochul and her administration’s request to join the Buffalo Pride Parade and Festival was declined over a budget policy. The organizations released a statement together to explain their reason, which can be seen in full below.

In a Monday letter to Hochul, Pride Center Executive Director Kelly Craig and Evergreen President and CEO Ray Ganoe further elaborate on the decision. They also said they welcome a discussion about their concerns concerning the 340B drug pricing program. “Your policy proposes to make healthcare access harder and care worse for millions of LGBTQ+ people across the state,” the letter says.

A spokesperson for Hochul responded Tuesday afternoon, saying: “Governor Hochul is a steadfast supporter of the LGBTQ+ community and has the record to back it up, using newly-signed legislation and state funding to lift up LGBTQ+ individuals in every corner of the State. Due to pending litigation from Evergreen Health on this particular issue, we will not comment further.”

The statement from The Pride Center of Western New York and Evergreen Health is below. “We have informed Governor Hochul and her Administration that their request to attend the Buffalo Pride Parade and Festival has been declined. We have not arrived at this decision lightly and we are saddened to have to make this stand. In the Governor’s budget, she advances a Cuomo-era policy that redirects revenue generated by the federal 340B drug pricing program away from community health centers and into the State’s coffers. The 340B program is an essential, predictable, and stable funding source for community health centers and covered entities. Without this funding, our organization and others like us would have been unable to meet the demands of the COVID crisis. We will have to reduce the size of our food pantry, wait list patients, shutter harm reduction programs, and say no when the State calls on us for other health emergencies. 340B funding has helped us feed, shelter, and care for some of our most vulnerable community members. This isn’t about money. It’s about our ability to meet the needs of this community, prevent illness, end the AIDS epidemic, and help our patients thrive. An attack on the program is an attack on communities who need it: communities of color, LGBTQ patients, people living with HIV, refugees, and people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. In good faith to those we serve, we cannot welcome policies that run counter to our mission of supporting LGBTQ+ people and their health. We have communicated our full-throated opposition and have tried endless to work with the administration for years, on a solution that would hold providers and patients harmless. Unfortunately, the Governor has not been willing to find a solution that works.”

Pride Center of Western New York and Evergreen Health