Wednesday, November 11, 2009

New York State Senate Puts Marriage Equality Vote On "Indefinite Hold"

Marriage equality was not voted on in the New York State Senate yesterday. I am not terribly disappointed.

Because the Gender Expression Non Discrimination Act (GENDA) is STILL being ignored by both the politicians and the Empire State Pride Agenda (ESPA) in favor of marriage legislation. When Gov Paterson introduced the marriage equality legislation last April he effectively doomed GENDA. While ESPA did include GENDA and the NY bullying bills (Dignity for All Students Act) in its lobbying day at the end of April their main efforts for most of the year have been almost exclusive to marriage equality. I dare say, the main impetus behind the coup that the Republicans inflicted upon the NY Senate in June was largely fueled by opposition to the marriage bill. Of course, all other unfinished legislation was thus thrown under the bus too, along with GENDA and DASA.

Until April, the consensus in NY was that marriage quality would be a dead issue for at least this year and that non discrimination and bullying laws that included GLBT kids would be in the forefront. Mr Paterson and the rest of the political system in NY once again, however, have decided that trans people and BLTG kids aren't important enough to even consider when some political hay could be made pandering to the GLB and progressive groups with legislation that was considered unpassable for this legislative season.

Apparently, this isn't over and there have been some assurances made that the vote will be scheduled again. The NY Daily News says ESPA head, Alan Van Capelle expressed satisfaction that his group has the assurance it has sought for a reasonably prompt debate and vote, and Tom Duane (openly gay NY senator) said he was "happy" with the outcome. Of course they are happy! They are cissexual and cisgender people with all the privilege that comes with those identities. They don't have to worry about losing their jobs, being thrown out of their apartments or being denied service in a hotel or restaurant because of who they are.

Like in Massachusetts, Connecticut and New Hampshire, the GLB community in NY apparently still thinks marriage equality is worth throwing gender variant people under the bus. This is on top of the past treachery from 2002 when they supported non-inclusive non discrimination law which then passed. At the time, the trans community was told to wait. To be patient until they could come back to us. When the hell is that going to be? I daresay, unless some fundamental changes are made in both ESPA and the state government, the answer to that is never.

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