New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand criticized President Donald Trump's
policies during Saturday's Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Greater New
Gillibrand called for the defeat of
Trump in 2020 and a change of Congress to enact federal LGBT
protections. First introduced in 2015, the Equality Act seeks to
prohibit anti-LGBT discrimination in seven key areas, including
credit, education, employment, federal funding, housing, jury service
and public accommodations, by effectively expanding the Civil Rights
Act, originally approved in 1964.
“We know this president will never
sign the Equality Act to ensure the civil rights of LGBTQ Americans,”
Gillibrand said. “He has neither the decency, nor the empathy to do
so. But even with him in the Oval Office, we can make progress,
because with a Democratic majority in the House and the Senate, we
can have the momentum that we need for a new president to sign that
bipartisan bill in 2020.”
Cuomo also went after Trump, calling on
Congressional Democrats to stop his agenda at any cost.
“We must oppose Washington's drive to
reverse our progress,” Cuomo said. “The Democrats in Washington
must join forces and they must stop the administration's attempts at
reversals by any means possible. We cannot let them impose their
will and their vision on this country. And whatever the Democrats
have to do – stand up, speak up, lay down, shut down – I don't
care, whatever is necessary to do, we must do, because you cannot
compromise with hate and prejudice without degrading the nation.”
Cuomo also promised New York would lead
the nation on ending the AIDS epidemic and announced plans to
introduce legislation this session that would put an end to the
so-called gay panic defense.
“It is discriminatory. It is
repugnant. There is no Italian panic defense, or male panic defense,
or Catholic panic defense, or handsome panic defense. There can be
no legal gay panic defense,” Cuomo told a cheering crowd.
Cuomo added that he was signing an
executive order that prohibits the state of New York from doing
business with any company that discriminates. The Democratic
governor said that his order was a response to Trump's policies.
“The Trump administration gave the
attorney general a license to discriminate by interpreting 'religious
liberty' protections in the federal law. What that means is a
business can refuse to serve LGBTQ individuals because it violates
their religious beliefs. They did that. So, today I'm signing an
executive order prohibiting New York state government from doing any
business with any entity that discriminates against any New Yorker,
period,” Cuomo said.
Also at Saturday's event, HRC honored
out actress Cynthia Nixon with its Visibility Award and Audra
McDonald with its National Equality Award. Senate Minority Leader
Chuck Schumer also addressed the crowd, telling them that Trump
is probably the “most dangerous” president the U.S. has ever had.