On January 15, 2019, the New York State Senate voted 42-19 to pass the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) (Bill S.1047-Hoylman/A.747-Gottfried), also known as the Bathroom Bill. On the same day, the New York State Assembly passed the Bathroom Bill by a vote of 105 to 43. Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a strong supporter of GENDA, is expected to sign the bill into law; at this writing, he has not yet done so.
With the exception of Sen. Simcha Felder (D-Brooklyn), all Senate Democrats voted in favor of the bill. All but three Senate Republicans that were present voted against the bill; the three Senate Republicans who voted “aye” were Sens. Phil Boyle (R-Bay Shore), Andrew Lanza (R-Staten Island), and Betty Little (R-Queensbury). (Sens. John Flanagan, R-East Northport, and Chris Jacobs, R-Buffalo, were excused from the vote.) In the Assembly, the only Democrats who voted against the Bathroom Bill were Asms. Simcha Eisenstein (D-Brooklyn) and Angelo Santabarbara (D-Rotterdam), and the only Republicans voting in favor of it were Asms. Kevin Byrne (R-Mahopac) and Gary Finch (R-Springport). (Asms. Catherine Nolan, D-Queens, and Robin Schimminger, D-Kenmore, were excused from the vote.)
What does this mean? It means state law will now require places of public accommodation to allow biological males that identify as “transgender” to enter women-only spaces, including locker rooms and restrooms. It means that sexual predators will have the opportunity to pretend to be ‘transgender” for the purpose of gaining access to women-only spaces. It means that employers must allow “transgender’ employees to cross-dress and use opposite-sex facilities in the workplace. Many of these provisions are already in effect due to a January 2016 executive order issued by the Governor, but the passage of the Bathroom Bill will make it impossible for a future Governor to reverse these destructive policies by executive action.
Falsehoods never form the basis of good public policy, and GENDA is based on several falsehoods. The key falsehood underlying this deeply misguided bill is the notion that the State of New York should consider gender dysphoria an identity to be affirmed, not a psychiatric condition to be compassionately treated. Based on this flawed notion, GENDA will require employers, landlords, and places of public accommodation across the State of New York to treat “gender identity or expression” as a protected civil rights category like race, sex, and religion.
There is no doubt that the passage of GENDA will make Sen. Brad Hoylman (D-Manhattan), Asm. Richard Gottfried (D-Manhattan), and many of their fellow travelers quite popular. However, upstate New York voters will not be amused by the imposition of a far-left New York City agenda upon their families, their workplaces, and their communities. Unfortunately, this is just the beginning of a laundry list of far-left New York City priorities that the Legislature intends to act upon this year. Voters should remember this in 2020.
In response to this unwelcome development, New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms asks that our friends and supporters contact their state legislators to provide feedback on their votes on the Bathroom Bill. Further, we ask that you please contact us if you are exposed to situations were persons who identify as “transgender” enter restrooms, changing rooms, or locker rooms of the opposite sex. Finally, we urge parents to prepare your children for the possibility that they may encounter “transgender” persons in public restrooms.
New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms has led the fight against the passage of GENDA for over a decade. We did so because of our Biblically-based belief that each person’s true identity as a male or a female is not chosen or changeable, and because of a common-sense conviction that allowing biological males access to women-only space compromises the privacy and safety of women and girls. While last week’s outcome was not what we desired, we are thankful to have had the opportunity to speak the truth on this important issue. We are also thankful that the Senate Republican Conference refused to allow a vote on the bill for many years, and we are thankful for all those who have supported us in this legislative battle.