Friday, March 5, 2010
On Tuesday, March 2nd, the New York State Assembly has passed the Gender Expression Non Discrimination Act (GENDA) for the third year in a row. The tally was 91-40, with bi-partisan support. My local assembly representative, William Parment, bless his heart, voted yes all three times but for the third year in a row the bill goes to the Senate with questions about how much support it would receive there.
My local state senator, Catherine Young (good Catholic girl that she is) has consistently come out and voted against civil marriage equality for same sex couples. After three trips to Albany to lobby for TBGL issues I have yet to meet her in person. The last time my group went to her office we were met by a staffer who had been with her for only a few weeks. He knew nothing about her position on the issues we brought up and seemed a bit out of his depth when we presented our concerns. I suspect we were the first group of GLBT activists he had ever dealt with in his life. Because of her opposition to civil marriage equality and the ignorance of her staffer I suspect she will not support the passage of GENDA. I certainly have never seen anything attributed to her or her office that indicates her position so I'll assume she's opposed based on her other votes.
I was surprised to read that, "Its unclear what sort of support the legislation will enjoy in the Senate." We were assured last year, before the senate's meltdown and the ill fated and ill advised marriage vote, that the votes were there for passage in the senate. Yet now we hear they aren't sure. All I can think is that the support for GENDA was squandered away in the push towards marriage equality. It certainly wouldn't be out of character for the Empire State Pride Agenda and the GLB faction in New York's government to throw gender variant people into the Hudson as a sacrifice to marriage rights or civil rights protections for GLB people.
I suppose we'll soon see how much effort is spent trying to get GENDA passed in the senate. ESPA has announced a "call in lobby day" for the future. I hope it isn't canceled the way the last one was. I'll give Senator Young's office yet another phone call and email. I hope, this time, it works.