Main | Thursday, May 27, 2010

New York Senate May Have Votes To Finally Pass Transgender Protections

In 2002 the New York Senate rejected an amendment to include transgender protections in the Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act (SONDA), which became law that year. Eight years later and after being approved by the state Assembly twice, it appears that we finally have the Senate votes to pass a stand-alone transgender protections bill, the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA).
The chances of the Gender Expression Nondiscrimination Act (GENDA) becoming state law got a boost this week when one more New York State Senator publicly committed to voting in favor of the legislation. The total number of committed senators is now 32 — enough to pass the bill in the 62-member body. GENDA would add the category of “gender identity and expression” to existing New York State human rights laws that protect residents against discrimination in the areas of employment, housing, public accommodations, education and credit. It would make New York the 14th U.S. state to afford such protections. Senator William Stachowski is the newest senator to commit to voting “yes” on GENDA. The Democrat’s district includes Buffalo, a city that added gender identity to its non-discrimination laws in 2002.
It has taken eight years in New York state, of all places, to squeeze out the few votes needed to pass GENDA, should it happen. Keep that in mind during the current battle to retain the transgender provisions in the pending federal ENDA bill. That whole "we'll come back for YOU later" thing just doesn't work. Gov. Paterson has pledged to sign GENDA should it reach his desk.

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