On Tuesday the New York Senate Investigations and Government Operations Committee took up S502, sponsored by Daniel L. Squadron, (D-Brooklyn waterfront and lower Manhattan), known as GENDA, the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act
The bill's purpose:
Prohibits discrimination based on gender identity or expression and includes offenses regarding gender identity or expression under the hate crimes statute
The bill had the backing of Gov. Cuomo. The New York State Assembly has passed a version of GENDA ten times. The Senate has blocked it more times than the Assembly has passed it. Squadron had to use a procedural device on Monday to force Tuesday's action.
But the committee once again blocked the bill, 6-3.
Today, the Senate stood with Trumpian divisiveness, discrimination, and fear. As the Trump Administration rolls back basic protections for transgender Americans, the Senate Majority has an obligation to ensure all New Yorkers are protected. Today, not one Republican Senator voted to support basic fairness for all.
Preceding the vote, Squadron explained GENDA very simply:
It ensures the basic fairness, the basic civil rights that the vast majority of New Yorkers take for granted for transgender New Yorkers.
It’s about people’s lives and the right to do what most New Yorkers take for granted.
Legislation at the state level is especially important at a time when Trump has rolled back transgender protections as part of his campaign of divisiveness and fear.
Sen Andrew Lanza (R-Staten Island) jumped to Trump's defense...sort of:
Comments made about President Trump and his ‘divisiveness’ leave me to wonder if this is more political nonsense, or is it about substance? If you asked me in the last eight years, I would have told you that President Obama was the most divisive president in my lifetime.
I believe that you can’t discriminate on the basis of any immutable quality.
You know, like religion...or Lanza's favorite, political discrimination.
Lanza said that his daughter told him that students in colleges who were conservative, Republican or suspected of supporting Trump faced discrimination from the left.
Every generation deals with these types of cruelties … The better approach is to not discriminate against anyone for any immutable quality.
Lanza, of course, denies that gender identity is "an immutable quality."
Brad Hoylman (D – central Manhattan) said the bill was “so important” because transgender rights were expressly left out of the human rights bill passed years ago in New York.
It's morally reprehensible that the state Senate considers transgender New Yorkers to be second class citizens.
I voted against it because I don't believe it is a good bill. I believe the better more inclusive approach is to prohibit discrimination against anyone based upon immutable qualities.