Equal access to equal protection under the law. A value that we all hold dear, yet not always fully realized. As members of the LGBT community and allied organizations set out for Albany early yesterday morning, my thoughts turned to those who are still waiting for this essential American promise under our constitution.
I stand fully behind the LGBT community and it is imperative that Albany takes action on the legislative agenda that they advocated for. While we should be proud of the great strides towards equality and fairness that New York has taken in recent years, we must be mindful that we still have a ways to go.
The Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act would ensure that no one could legally experience discrimination based on their gender identity, whether that be in the form of wrongful employment termination, rental evictions and denial of public housing accommodations, refusal of business and services, or threats of physical harm.
The Child Parent Security Act would recognize the legitimacy of children born with the aid of assisted reproductive technology and legalizes surrogate-parenting contracts. Ensuring a legally recognized relationship between a child and his or her parents would help new families securely begin their future together.
Lastly, no mental health professional should ever be allowed to engage in conversion therapy on a minor in an effort to change their sexual orientation or gender identity. These practices are abusive and have a lasting negative effect on the mental health of our youth.
I applaud the efforts of the coalition, which included the NYS AFL-CIO, the Working Families Organization, NYSUT, AFT, AFSCME, 1199SEIU, CSEA, and particularly Western New York’s own Stonewall Democrats for their leadership on fighting for a future without discrimination and intolerance here in New York.