New York

LGBTQ Non-Discrimination in the States

New York
Statewide protections from discrimination based on sexual orientation; Transgender New Yorkers protected by 2015 executive order but not by state statute
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LGBTQ Non-Discrimination in New York:

Non-discrimination laws in New York provide explicit, comprehensive protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people – in employment, housing, and public accommodations.

The Latest on LGBTQ Non-Discrimination in New York:

The Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act, which would provide comprehensive non-discrimination protections for transgender people in housing, employment, and public accommodations, was introduced nearly every session for 16 years, but failed in the state Senate’s Judiciary Committee. However, in January 2019, the Senate and the General Assembly passed the law, making New York the 20th state to offer explicit nondiscrimination protections for all LGBTQ people.

History of LGBTQ Non-Discrimination in New York

  • June 28, 1969: A raid by NYPD’s Public Morals Division occurs at Stonewall Inn, one of New York City’s most famous gay hotspots. Marsha P. Johnson, a self-identified drag queen of color, throws a shot glass at a mirror claiming, “I got my civil rights!” This starts an event that will become known as the Stonewall riots, a watershed moment in history where LGBTQ people fought back against police discrimination. This event inspires the nation’s first gay pride parades in the 1970’s.
  • 2003: The Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act is signed into law, preventing lesbian, gay, and bisexual people from being discriminated against in housing, employment, and public accommodations.
  • 2003: The Gender Non Discrimination Act (GENDA), which would enact explicit statewide nondiscrimination protections for transgender and gender non-conforming New Yorkers, is introduced for the first time.
  • December 16, 2009: Governor David Paterson issues an executive order banning discrimination based on gender identity in state employment.
  • October 22, 2015: Governor Andrew Cuomo announces that he will direct the New York State Division of Human Rights (DHR) to enforce regulations banning harassment and discrimination against transgender individuals in employment, housing, education, access to credit, and public accommodations in New York. On January 20, 2016, the regulations take effect.
  • January 14, 2019: GENDA advances out of Senate committee for the first time in 16 years.
  • January 15, 2019: GENDA passes in both the NY state Senate (42-19) and the General Assembly (100-40), making New York the 20th state to offer explicit statewide nondiscrimination protections for all LGBTQ people.

Active Litigation

New Hope Family Services v. Sheila J. Poole

Case Concerning Discrimination in Adoption and Foster Care

Key Date: February 19, 2019 • Hearing Before District Judge
Status: Hearing scheduled for February 19, 2019
Legal Team: Alliance Defending Freedom
Type: Other LGBT Litigation

The lawsuit centers on the state of New York's position that adoption and foster care agencies licensed by the state may not discriminate against prospective parents.

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Altitude Express, Inc. v. Zarda

Case Concerning Employment Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation Under Title VII

Key Date: June 15, 2020 • Supreme Court Rules 6-3 in Favor of Defendant
Status: Supreme Court Has Ruled
Legal Team: ACLU & Gregory Antollino
Type: Employment Discrimination

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 6-3 in this case (alongside two other LGBTQ workplace discrimination cases), stating that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

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