The New York Assembly approved Tuesday a bill that bans transgender discrimination.

The chamber approved the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA), which would ban discrimination based on gender identity and expression in the areas of housing, employment, credit and public accommodations, for the third time.

“Transgender New Yorkers shouldn't have to live in fear that they lack basic protections and could lose their job or be denied a lease on an apartment or service in a restaurant just because of who they are,” Joe Tarver, interim executive director of Empire State Pride Agenda, the state's largest gay advocacy group, said in a statement. “In passing this bill, the Assembly continues to demonstrate its leadership on civil rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) New Yorkers.”

While a final vote count has yet to be released, previously a large majority (70% and higher) of members voted in favor of the measure.

The bill now heads to the less liberal Senate.

“The state Senate remains the only obstacle to passing GENDA,” Tarver said. “It is now time for the Senate to follow the Assembly's lead and end discrimination against transgender New Yorkers once and for all by passing GENDA.”

New York Governor David Paterson signed an executive order in December that protects transgender state employees from discrimination. Only 12 states and the District of Columbia have comprehensive laws outlawing transgender discrimination.