Skip to comments.Pass the New York Gay Rights Bill
Posted on 12/17/2002 5:39:00 PM PST by Fury
December 17, 2002
Pass the New York Gay Rights Bill
showdown over basic civil rights looms in Albany today. The Republican-led State Senate is poised to vote on a measure that would finally add the words "sexual orientation" to the New York State law prohibiting discrimination in employment, housing, education and credit.
Arriving at this point took decades. The Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act was first introduced in the Legislature 31 years ago. The Democratic-led Assembly has passed the measure by successively greater margins over the past 10 years, only to see it blocked at the end of the session in a secret caucus of G.O.P. lawmakers. What finally sprang the bill was a political deal: In exchange for endorsing Gov. George Pataki's re-election in November, the Empire State Pride Agenda, a leading gay rights group, won a promise from the Senate majority leader, Joseph Bruno, to allow the bill to reach the floor for a vote.
The Conservative Party has been lobbying hard against the measure, threatening to withhold its endorsement from any Republican who votes for it. Thus, even with Mr. Bruno promising to vote for the bill, and Governor Pataki's strong support, passage is by no means certain. At this late date, though, protecting gays from discrimination seems to most New Yorkers a matter of basic fairness.
Indeed, the Albany gay rights bill, which seemed such a bold initiative in 1971, now strikes us as narrow and more narrow-minded than it should be, especially coming after 12 other states and numerous localities have passed similar laws. The New York bill stops short of recognizing same-sex unions or granting committed gay couples a way to register their relationship and obtain essential legal and medical benefits. It also fails to follow the New York City Council's lead last April in specifically extending human rights protection to transgendered people.
Unfortunately, given the political realities of Albany, the fight over these critical matters needs to await the beginning of a new session. The gay rights bill before the Senate is limited. But enacting it would provide an essential measure of legal protection, and send an important message of tolerance one that is terribly overdue.
"The 34-26 vote put the Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act (SONDA) a pen-stroke away from becoming law. The state Assembly approved the measure in January -- as it has annually since 1993 -- and Gov. George Pataki said Tuesday "I look forward to signing" the bill into law."
Anyone know anything about this bill?
I'm glad we have the important stuff out of the way. Now, Pataki can move onto the budget deficit.
Yeah. It's illegal to discriminate in housing, employment, education, et cetera, based on race, sex, ethnicity, religion, whatever, in New York already, as you probably know. All this bill does is add "sexual orientation" to that list of things you're not supposed to discriminate against. Kind of silly, if you ask me, but it's not quite as horrible as some have said - there was a thread last week asking people to sign a petition against it, claiming stuff like "you could go to jail for criticizing homosexuality!" Which is patently false, but there you go...