New York Legislature passed constitutional amendment in second consecutive legislative session
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 24, 2022
ALBANY, NY – Today, the New York legislature passed the Equal Rights Amendment in its second consecutive session, officially bringing the amendment to New Yorkers for ratification on the 2024 November ballot.
The ERA (S.108-A Kreuger/A.1283 Seawright) would prohibit discrimination by the government based on a person’s ethnicity, national origin, age, disability, and sex — including their sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, pregnancy and pregnancy outcomes. It would also protect against any government actions that would curtail a person’s reproductive autonomy or their access to reproductive health care. The ERA would, for the first time, explicitly include language to clarify that discrimination based on a person’s pregnancy or pregnancy outcome is sex discrimination – an essential clarification given the national trend of criminalizing people for various pregnancy outcomes, as well as the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade.
“It’s official: equality will literally be on the ballot in 2024,” said Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union. “While New York has a robust set of anti-discrimination statutes, our state Constitution is inadequate when it comes to ensuring equality. In November 2024, New Yorkers will be able to demand the lasting protections of a constitutional amendment that would prohibit discrimination against groups who have been historically targeted, including those with disabilities, LGBTQI+ individuals, people of color, immigrants, women, and pregnant people. With a Supreme Court empowered to roll back fundamental rights and protections that advance equality, it’s crucial that New York meets the moment by enshrining protections against discrimination in our state Constitution.”
“New Yorkers overwhelmingly support measures that advance equality in this state, and today the legislature has passed landmark legislation to add an Equal Rights Amendment to our state constitution. Now we turn to 2024 when the voters will go to the ballot box and make a critical decision that would not only defend our reproductive rights in our State’s foundational document, but also protect New Yorkers from discrimination on the basis of age, race, ethnicity, national origin, disability, sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity – all communities whose rights are on the line. With the federal constitutional right to abortion granted by Roe v. Wade 50 years ago stolen from us last June, New York has taken critical steps to create a State Constitution worthy of the 21st century that protects us all!” said Georgana Hanson, interim President and CEO, Planned Parenthood Empire State Acts.
“Days after what would have been the 50th anniversary of Roe, we are affirming yet again that we will not allow New Yorkers to be pulled backward, we will not allow the progress we have made on reproductive freedom to be undone. Women have waited far too long to be included in our State Constitution, but so have LGBTQ people, people with disabilities, Latinos, and everyone who has faced discrimination based on characteristics that are beyond their control. The 1930s-era equal rights language in our State Constitution is long overdue for an update to ensure that equal rights are for everyone. I am proud that today we will send this amendment to the people,” said State Senator Liz Kreuger.
“We have witnessed the obliteration by our nation’s highest judicial tribunal of fifty years of federal protection of the rights of women to determine the future of their bodies. As the federal courts turn the clock back on Civil Rights, Human Rights and Voting Rights, we cannot and must not stand by while freedom of choice and freedom from discrimination are so outrageously denied. We are closer than ever to enshrining a woman’s right to choose and equality protections against discrimination in the most important governing document of our state. Now the voters will have the opportunity to vote for equality on the ballot in November 2024,” said Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright.
“Equality New York is thrilled that this inclusive NYS Equal Rights Amendment is on the path to protect the human rights and reproductive rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, gender non-conforming and non-binary New Yorkers. We will organize to win the referendum for our sake and in solidarity with every New Yorker whose bodily autonomy and reproductive rights will be on the ballot in 2024,” said Desma Holcomb, Advisor of Equality New York’s Bodily Autonomy & Reproductive justice Commission.
“Today’s second passage of the ERA bill brings New York another step closer to enshrining equal rights for all in our state constitution. With radical public policies advancing in some states, PowHer New York applauds our leaders for acting boldly to safeguard women’s reproductive health and choices and shore up the rights of LGBTQ+, older and disabled persons, immigrants and other marginalized groups. This inclusive ERA is a reflection of New York’s values and vision for a future which embraces equity and diversity. With pride and resolve, we all must work together to achieve the final step, passage by the public in 2024,” said Beverly Neufeld, President of PowHer New York.
“New York has sent a loud and clear message to the rest of the country: LGBTQ+ Rights, Women’s Rights, Disability Rights, Immigrant Rights, Reproductive Rights, and Racial Justice – are the cornerstone of our values. The second passage of the Equal Rights Amendment in the legislature has solidified New York as a place where we respect diversity. Voters will now have the opportunity to lend their voices to this historic constitutional amendment, come 2024. With an extremist court in Washington – this Equal Rights Amendment is even more crucial than ever. I am proud of our great state for once again setting the bar when it comes to equal rights and protections for all,” said Elisa Crespo, Executive Director of the NEW Pride Agenda.
“The National Institute for Reproductive Health applauds the legislature for the second passage of the Equal Rights Amendment, clearing the path for New York voters to enshrine these vital protections into our state constitution. We must never take any fundamental rights for granted, especially with a hostile Supreme Court poised for even more destruction of the basic freedoms that every person, and every New Yorker, deserves. Now, more than ever, we must bring our state constitution into the modern era and make it crystal clear that we will not tolerate discrimination against so many who face unconscionable treatment. That includes recognizing that sex discrimination encompasses sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, pregnancy, and pregnancy outcomes at a time when persecution and prosecution of those who are pregnant and members of the LGBTQI+ community continues to grow. We look forward to celebrating again next year when the voters of New York join voters across the country, who have spoken loud and clear they support bodily integrity and self-determination,” said Andrea Miller, president of the National Institute for Reproductive Health and NIRH Action Fund.
“LatinoJustice PRLDEF applauds the New York’s legislature for approving the Equal Rights Amendment in this session as they did last year, so we can prohibit discrimination against historically targeted communities such as those who have disabilities, immigrants and people of color, those who are pregnant, and LGBTQ+ communities. Recently we’ve seen federal courts, including the highest court in the land, make decisions that curtail fundamental rights for tens of millions in the U.S. We must respond by making New York state a shining example for how our country should protect its people. The passage of the ERA brings our state one step closer to ensuring equality for all, and gives New Yorkers an opportunity to codify these rights in our state Constitution in 2024,” said Lourdes M. Rosado, President & General Counsel at LatinoJustice PRLDEF
“Today we celebrate the second passage of the NYS Equal Rights Amendment which brings New York one step closer to our goal of codifying basic protections for all New Yorkers into our state’s constitution. Over 100 years ago, the League of Women Voters of New York State was founded on the premise that women deserve to be treated as equals under NYS law. The League now stands and fights for equality for all New Yorkers. In November of 2024, New Yorkers will have the power to vote to protect and prohibit discrimination by the government based on a person’s ethnicity, national origin, age, disability, and sex, including their sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, pregnancy and pregnancy outcomes. This includes protection against any action that would infringe upon a person’s reproductive autonomy or access to reproductive care. It is critical that New Yorker’s head to the polls in 2024 and vote yes for the NYS inclusive Equal Rights Amendment. Equality is not debatable,” said Laura Bierman, Executive Director of the League of Women Voters of New York State
“NYAIL is committed to being a part of this intersectional movement and to ensure that the diverse population of people with disabilities is protected by our New York State Constitution. We believe that people with disabilities should have equal opportunity to live a life free of poverty, segregation, and discrimination,” said Alex Thompson, Director of Advocacy of the New York Association on Independent Living.