Gender Expression Nondiscrimination Act Passes in New York General Assembly, Heads to State SenateBy Shane Stahl • May 8, 2018 • 4:57 pm
On Monday, the New York General Assembly passed the Gender Expression Nondiscrimination Act (GENDA), sending the legislation to the state senate for consideration. It’s the latest signal of growing support for LGBTQ-inclusive nondiscrimination protections, building on recent victories in New Hampshire and Anchorage, Alaska.
Currently, New York ensures comprehensive nondiscrimination protections statewide, including in housing, employment, and public accommodations explicitly based on sexual orientation, following passage of the Sexual Orientation Nondiscrimination Act (SONDA) in 2003. In 2015, Governor Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order finding that the New York State Human Rights Law’s prohibition against discrimination based on “sex” also covers discrimination based on gender identity. That important step forward shields transgender people from many forms of discrimination, but it’s vital that we continue pushing forward and explicitly codifying these protections statewide.
The Assembly’s passage of GENDA marks the ninth time it has been passed since 2007. It’s well past time for the New York legislature to pass the law once and for all.
Introduced in almost every legislative session since 2003, GENDA has made its way to the state senate six times (including Monday), but never advanced to the floor for a full Senate vote. Five times it has been assigned to the Committee on Investigations and Government and Operations, and has also been debated before the Committee on Rules and the Judiciary Committee. Senator Thomas Duane introduced the bill to the senate in 2009, and Daniel Squadron re-introduced from 2012-2017.