Lawmakers in New York on Tuesday
approved a pair of LGBT rights bills.
Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo is
expected to sign both bills. One bill extends the state's
non-discrimination law to include gender identity, while the other
bans “ex-gay” therapy to minors.
Lawmakers in the Democratic-led House
have approved the Gender Identity Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA)
every year since 2008, but the bill has stalled in the Senate, which
until this year was controlled by Republicans.
GENDA adds gender identity and
expression to New York's civil rights law, which prohibits
discrimination in the areas of employment, housing and public
New York becomes the 15th
state to prohibit therapies that attempt to alter the sexual
orientation or gender identity of LGBT youth. Such therapies go by
names such as “conversion therapy,” “reparative therapy,”
“sexual orientation change efforts” or “ex-gay therapy.”
In 2016, Governor Cuomo signed an
executive order prohibiting health care insurers from supporting
conversion therapy as it relates to minors. Such orders can be
rescinded by a future administration.
LGBT groups applauded Tuesday's votes.
“Today’s historic action in New
York is the result of years of hard work and it is a vivid
illustration of the importance of electing pro-equality lawmakers,”
Human Rights Campaign (HRC) President Chad Griffin said in a
statement. “Due to the efforts of countless advocates and leaders,
transgender New Yorkers will now be explicitly protected from
discrimination on the basis of gender identity and LGBTQ youth will
be protected from the dangerous, debunked practice of so-called
conversion therapy. This is a monumental day for fairness and
equality across the Empire State.”
Zeke Stokes, vice president of programs
at GLAAD, added: “Days like this demonstrate that despite the
attacks coming at us from the Trump administration in Washington,
D.C., states are forging ahead in the fight for full LGBTQ equality
and acceptance. New York can be a model for the nation when it comes
to standing up for transgender and non-binary people, who deserve to
be treated fairly and equally under the law.”