Friday, October 23, 2015

Cuomo orders transgender protections

Posted By on Fri, Oct 23, 2015 at 10:43 AM

Some lawmakers and LGBT advocates have been trying to get the State Legislature to pass transgender anti-discrimination laws for the past few sessions, without success. So yesterday, Governor Andrew Cuomo bypassed the Legislature to enact those protections.

Cuomo announced last night that had issued an executive order directing the State Division of Human Rights to change the state's anti-discrimination regulations to clearly prohibit housing, employment, financial, and education discrimination against trans individuals in New York. (The regulations are available here.)The changes are intended to mirror those laid out in the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act, which the State Assembly has passed a few times but the State Senate has not.

"It is intolerable to allow discrimination of transgender individuals, and they are one of the most abused, harassed groups in society today," Cuomo said last night at the Empire State Pride Agenda gala. "Well, it is New York State’s role, New York State’s responsibility, and New York State’s legacy to lead the way."

LGBT advocacy groups cheered the announcement. 

"This critically important step by Governor Cuomo is not only consistent with case law, but is the moral choice to protect thousands of transgender New Yorkers and visitors,” Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin said in a blog post. “We congratulate the Governor on his leadership and vision on LGBT equality which has and will continue to inspire the nation."

State Assembly member Harry Bronson, who's deeply involved in LGBT issues as a legislator, also issued a statement supporting the governor:

For many years the Assembly majority has fought to ensure that all New Yorkers are able to pursue opportunities with dignity and respect no matter their gender identity or expression. Harassment and discrimination against transgender people is unacceptable, and Governor Cuomo should be commended for taking this bold action. To me this issue has always been about making sure that equality and justice...really are for all. Today, the Governor has helped ensure that...New York is once again the leader in civil and
human rights.

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