Isaiah 5:20: “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!”
The 2022-2023 New York State Budget is a setback for the Empire State for a number of reasons. As Albany Update has previously noted, the budget contains an abortion insurance mandate and opens the door for downstate casino development. That’s not all, however; the budget also contains pro-“transgender” policies and provides millions of dollars to LGBT organizations. Worse yet, Gov. Kathy Hochul is celebrating these aspects of the budget legislation.
In an April 14, 2022 speech at the LGBT Community Center 2022 Dinner, Gov. Hochul announced that the recently-passed budget had included “major advancements in equity initiatives for the LGBTQ+ community.” “‘The work of The LGBT Center is essential in providing a space of value, love and belonging for members of the LGBTQ community, especially queer and trans people of color,’ Governor Hochul said. ‘The past two years have been hard for us all, but especially hard for LGBTQ+ New Yorkers who have always been forced to deal with levels of isolation due to homophobia and transphobia. That’s why it’s so important that our newly enacted budget presses forward in the fight for equality with historic levels of state funding and initiatives for LGBTQ+ equity.’”
In a press release, the Governor noted that the budget included two new laws relating to sex designations. Each of the two laws is dishonest and deeply misguided. The first new law allows New Yorkers identifying as “transgender” to alter their marriage licenses to reflect their preferred names and gender designations. The second new law will require state agencies to let individuals identify their gender identities with an “X” on state forms instead of identifying themselves as male or female. These two laws are dishonest in that they require the state to recognize false gender identifications that are based on people’s wishes instead of on scientific facts. Each of the two laws is also an immense waste of time that will likely create unnecessary bureaucratic headaches. Gov. Hochul, however, is proud of the two new laws; she asserts that they help our state to remain “a national leader in ensuring that state records and identification documents truly reflect an individual’s identity.”
Gov. Hochul also announced a budgeted expenditure of $13.5 million in tax dollars to “support the LGBTQ+ community and network of providers, with direct health services, cultural competency education and training, organizational capacity building and transgender wellness initiatives.” This expenditure represents an $8 million increase, more than doubling this year’s spending on the same items. Friends, do you want your tax dollars to be used for “cultural competency education and training” on sexual orientation and gender identity? How about “organizational capacity building” for LGBT organizations? And how about “transgender wellness initiatives?” Does “transgender wellness” mean so-called “gender reassignment surgeries? At this writing, we’re not certain—but we won’t be surprised if it does.
The Governor also announced the creation of a Hate and Bias Prevention Unit within the New York State Division of Human Rights. While New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms opposes both hate and bias, we are concerned that the public education component of the new Hate and Bias Prevention Unit may spend tax money in an effort to promote the state’s view of sexual orientation and gender identity.
Gov. Hochul is going out of her way to promote LGBT causes, both inside and outside of the state budget process. On March 1, 2022, the Governor issued a proclamation celebrating the Transgender Day of Visibility. According to the Governor, “this day raises awareness of the discrimination faced by transgender, gender non-conforming and non-binary people across the world.” Gov. Hochul also noted that her administration includes four “transgender, gender non-conforming and non-binary individuals”: A deputy chief diversity officer, a director of LGBTQ+ affairs, a deputy director of LGBTQ+ affairs, and an LGBTQ fellow. Twelve state landmarks, including One World Trade Center, were lit in celebration.