State Senate Candidate Amber Small Takes Unity Pledge In Support of LGBT legislation

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BUFFALO, NY – Today State Senate Candidate Amber Small joined LGBT community leaders to sign a “Unity Pledge” in support of LGBT legislation for the 2017 legislative session.

In signing the pledge, Amber Small stated, “In 2011 the 60th Senate District was a decisive vote in passing marriage equality and if elected State Senator, we will ensure that the 60th Senate District is again a vote for progress. I am not only proud to take the Unity Pledge, I am honored to continue the fight for equality for our LGBT community.” Small continued, "We cannot claim to be a state of equality while our LGBT community faces discrimination each day. I look forward to being a partner with organizations like Stonewall and TransPAC in Albany so that critical legislation such as the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) can finally be passed into law.”

Small added, “The Republican controlled Senate has refused to allow LGBT legislation to even reach the floor for a vote. It is exactly this sort of unaccountability and ineffective leadership that people in New York are fed up with.”

Bryan Ball, President of Stonewall Democrats of WNY remarked, “In 2017 we have an opportunity to again make history in New York. By signing the Unity Pledge, legislators and candidates can stand up and demand that we pass GENDA, ban conversion therapy on children and ban the gay panic defense.”

The pledge took place on Unity Island, a name recently adopted by the Buffalo Common Council. The renaming to Unity Island was done to move past a controversial past and represent Buffalo as a community of respect, inclusion, and unity. The Unity Pledge hopes to achieve similar results with the State legislature, by seeing that both the Assembly and the Senate pass the following legislation:

1. The Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA), a bill that has passed the NY Assembly 9 times since 2003, but has yet to come to the floor of the NY State Senate in 13 years. (S00061A/ Squadron | A 04558B/Gottfried):  Prohibits discrimination based on gender identity or expression; defines "gender identity or expression" as having or being perceived as having a gender identity, self- image, appearance, behavior or expression whether or not that gender identity, self-image, appearance, behavior or expression is different from that traditionally associated with the sex assigned to that person at birth; further includes offenses regarding gender identity or expression within the list of offenses subject to treatment as hate crimes.
2. Legislation to outlaw anti-LGBT conversion therapy, a bill that will protect LGBT youth from the disastrous consequences of conversion therapy. (S00121/Hoylman | A04958/Glick): Designates as professional misconduct, engaging in sexual orientation change efforts by mental health care professionals upon patients under 18 years of age.  

3. Legislation to ban the Gay Panic and Trans Panic Defensea bill that would prohibit accused criminals from relying on the defense of violent temporary insanity because of an alleged mental state of panic where the victim is LGBTQ. The State of California has banned the Gay Panic Defense and the American Bar Association passed a resolution that other States should adopt similar bans.

 

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Small serves as the Executive Director of the Parkside Community Association. In this role she is an advocate for 2,500 residents, working to enhance their quality of life through crime prevention, traffic calming, fair housing advocacy and more.  Amber also serves on the Board of Directors for B-Team Buffalo, and is a member of the Amherst Chamber of Commerce’s Emerging Business Leaders council.  She proudly serves as Vice Chair of WEPAC, a nonpartisan group focused on increasing female involvement in politics and government. Amber is a graduate of the University at Buffalo, and resides in North Buffalo’s Parkside neighborhood with her family.   New York's Sixtieth Senate District is located wholly in Erie County and includes the communities of Tonawanda, City of Tonawanda, Kenmore, Grand Island, Hamburg, Orchard Park, Evans, Brant, and the City of Buffalo.  Small is endorsed by the Democratic Party, the Working Families Party, the Women’s Equality Party, the Stonewall Democrats of WNY, and TransPAC.