State of Politics: Once Again, Assembly Approves GENDA

June 2, 2015

The Democratic-led Assembly on Tuesday once again approved the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act, a bill whose fate remains uncertain in the Republican-controlled Senate.

The measure was approved this afternoon, 88-45.

“Various New York cities and counties have already acknowledged the importance of equal rights for all people and passed transgender-inclusive nondiscrimination legislation,” said Speaker Carl Heastie in a statement. “It is time that we make this statewide legislation so that all New Yorkers can live their lives and be true to themselves without fear of being targeted or discriminated against.”

The bill would ban discrimination based on one’s gender identity or expression and also expand hate-crime laws that would explicitly outlaw crimes committed against people due to their identity or expression.

LGBT advocacy groups in recent years have focused on make GENDA the law, especially in the years after the passage of the legaliztion of same-sex marriage.

This is the eighth year in a row lawmakers in the Assembly have backed the bill.

“Every year my colleagues and I speak for transgender human rights and equal protection under the law, and every year, opponents spin imaginary horror stories, none of which have anything to do with this bill,” said the bill’s main sponsor, Assemblyman Richard Gottfried. “Local GENDA laws have been on the books in large parts of the state for years, without any problems. It’s time to protect all New Yorkers’ right to fair housing, employment, use of public accommodations, and protection against hate crimes.”