Building Pressure to Pass GENDA in New York State
May 31, 2013 by Cathryn Oakley, Legislative Counsel, State & Municipal Advocacy
The pressure to bring the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) to a vote in the New York State Senate is building. This critical bill would add gender identity and expression to New York’s anti-discrimination and hate crimes laws.
Both United States Senators from New York, Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, have voiced their support for the bill, saying “we feel this measure will once again position New York as a beacon of civil and human rights.” New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman expressed his support for GENDA as well, noting that GENDA’s protections are “fundamental” and “long-overdue.”
In a press conference at New York City hall last week, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn emphasized that “without GENDA we are saying that it is okay to discriminate, and any legal discrimination is a cancer on the state.” Speaker Quinn was joined in her support of GENDA by several of her City Council colleagues, including Council members Dromm, Van Bramer, Lapin, Rodriguez, and Chin. New York City has had a non-discrimination law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender identity for over a decade.
Yesterday several powerful labor groups - the SEIU 199 United Healthcare Workers East, the New York State AFL-CIO and the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union (RWDSU) – voiced their continued support for GENDA. GENDA has the approval of New Yorkers too – the poll results have been overwhelming, and the New York State Assembly has now passed GENDA six times.
It is time for the Senate to consider GENDA. New Yorkers can take action now by sending a message to their Senators. Supporters in New York City can join the Trans Rights Coalition, Human Rights Campaign, Empire State Pride Agenda, New York Civil Liberties Union, and Housing Works for important phone banks on June 3 and June 5 from 1 p.m. – 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. – 9 p.m. as we encourage New Yorkers to voice their support for GENDA. Let’s keep building the momentum… and let’s pass GENDA now!
HRC is a proud member of the New York Trans Rights Coalition, and we are working with our partners to change the law and add New York to the other sixteen states, plus D.C., that protect people based on gender identity or expression.
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