On the heals of NY Governor David Paterson saying the state would recognize gay marriage preformed elsewhere, the New York State Assembly voted yesterday 102-33 to include protections for gender identity and expression in anti-discrimination laws. That’s an important step in light of last week’s report that LGBT hate crimes are up 24 percent since 2006. Read the NY press release after the jump.


Albany, New York, June 4, 2008 – The New York State Assembly late yesterday evening voted 102-33 to amend the state’s human rights law to include anti-discrimination protections based on gender identity and expression. Bill A.6584a, also known as the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) would ban discrimination against transgender people in housing, employment, credit and public accommodations, among other protections.

“The New York State Assembly made a clear choice – to protect transgender New Yorkers who have lived with prejudice and discrimination for their entire lives,” said LGBT Center Executive Director, Richard Burns. “The leadership demonstrated by our one of our community’s staunchest allies – Dick Gottfried – along with Speaker Silver and the Assembly Majority, has brought us to a historic point for the LGBT community,” continued Burns.

“This vote is a potent example of effective statewide organizing,” said Carrie Davis, Director of Adult Services and former Coordinator of the Gender Identity Project at the Center. “It demonstrates that we are indeed one lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, that we can work together to pass inclusive legislation that protects us all, and sends a powerful message to our national representatives that federal level protections like ENDA should be inclusive of gender identity and gender expression.” Davis continued, “We will continue to work with the coalition and our state senate to pass a bill that will protect us all. If we can do this in New York State, we can do it in Washington, D.C.,” concluded Davis.

There were 74 co-sponsors and the 102 Assembly members who voted to pass GENDA.

First introduced in 2003, GENDA obtained a record 74 co-sponsors this year in the Assembly, up from 69 last year. The Center has been part of a coalition of over 200 organizations convened by the Pride Agenda, working closely with Assembly member Gottfried and other Assembly supporters to garner the support that resulted in today’s vote.

In the Senate, GENDA (S.3753a) is sponsored by Senator Tom Duane and has 17 co-sponsors, up from 14 last year. While none of the co-sponsors are members of the Republican Majority, the Pride Agenda’s legislative scorecard shows GENDA to have the support of 27 Senators, including three Republicans.

The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center provides a home for the birth, nurture and celebration of our organizations, institutions and culture; cares for our individuals and groups in need; educates the public and our community; and empowers our individuals and groups to achieve their fullest potential. The Center celebrates 25 years of service in 2008.

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