The State Assembly has again passed legislation that would protect transgender New Yorkers under the state's human rights law by a vote of 85-46.
The Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act expands the definition of hate crimes in the state to explicitly include transgender people. The Assembly has passed the bill annually since 2003 but the Senate has failed to do so.
Debate on the Assembly floor yesterday mostly focused on theoretical bathroom situations — something Assemblyman Daniel O'Donnell of Manhattan was not amused by. "Spare me your arguments about godamned bathrooms!" he told the chamber.
The bill's sponsor, Assemblyman Richard Gottfrfied of Manhattan, read a statement from Albany Police Cheif Steven Krokoff to the chamber on how Albany's GENDA legislation has not caused any major problems in the city.
Krokoff addressed a group of GENDA lobbyists earlier in the day saying, "I'm proud to be here today! Thank you for allowing me to come here and champion this cause." Gender expression non-discrimination has been law in Albany since 2004.
The Bill's Senate sponor Sen. Daniel Squadron who represents Brooklyn and lower Manhattan pushed today for the bill to come to a vote. He issued this statement:
Today the Assembly passed GENDA for the sixth time. Yet Senate Republicans continue to block a vote on this critical bill. Make no mistake: it's simply unacceptable that New Yorkers can lose their job or be evicted from their home because of their gender identity or expression. Countless other states, and localities around our own state, have acted. But New York remains behind the curve. It's time for the Senate to finally pass GENDA, and for New York to stand up for what's right and ensure that all people -- no matter how they identify -- are treated with the fairness and dignity they deserve.
"Thank you to Assemblyman Gottfried, the tireless activists in Albany today for Equality & Justice Day, and all those fighting for equality for all New Yorkers.