One Step Forward On New York's GENDA — Just Wait 'Till Next Year!
With approval May 28 by the State Assembly’s majority Democratic conference, the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA), a measure providing civil rights protections for transgendered and other gender-variant New Yorkers, cleared the last hurdle prior to full approval by that chamber of the Legislature.
…With Democratic conference approval in hand, passage by the full Assembly seems assured; the party holds more than two-thirds of the seats in the 150-member body.
“It’s as clear as it could be that it will pass,” said [Dick Gottfried, the Chelsea Democrat who is the lead sponsor of the measure], noting that 73 members have attached their names to the measure as co-sponsors and another 11 voted for it in one of the two committees that have considered it. The Empire State Pride Agenda (ESPA), the state’s LGBT lobby group, has identified 102 members who have publicly voiced support for GENDA, and Gottfried, noting bipartisan support spanning the spectrum of both geography and ideology in New York, said, “I would be surprised if there are more than a handful of negative Democratic votes.”
…The bill could come up for a vote as early as this week…
Beyond the State Assembly, State Senate passage is a less certain thing:
GENDA’s prospects in the Republican-controlled Senate remain clouded. As with marriage equality and the school bullying bill, Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, of upstate Rensselaer County, has shown no interest in advancing the measure. Many advocates on these issues are reconciled to the fact that Democrats must win the two seats necessary to gain control of the Senate as well in order to secure passage.
Gottfried acknowledged that Senate action on GENDA will not happen this year, but did not rule out passage even if the Republicans retain control of that chamber. Citing the fact that between 2000 and 2002, the GOP leadership came around on hate crimes and a gay rights law, he said, “I think that regardless of party [Senate passage] will come much quicker than we might think.”
So in the baseball jargon of those whose teams didn’t win the World Series:
Just wait ’till next year!