TLDEF Condemns New York Senate Majority Leader's Disingenuous Criticism of Transgender Rights Regulations
November 2, 2015 - TLDEF responded to comments made by New York Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan suggesting that Governor Andrew Cuomo went beyond his authority by proposing new regulations to protect transgender New Yorkers from discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations, and credit. “The scourge of harassment and discrimination against transgender individuals is well-known – and has also has gone largely unanswered for too long,” Governor Cuomo said in announcing his action on October 22.
Speaking to reporters last Friday, Senator Flanagan criticized the Governor’s action, stating that “we have coequal branches of government” and “these issues should all be vetted in concert with the Legislature.”
Statement from TLDEF Executive Director Michael Silverman
“It is disingenuous for Senator Flanagan to suggest that the legislature was not given an opportunity to vet legislation to protect New York’s transgender community. As Senate Majority Leader, he presides over a legislative body that missed 13 opportunities over more than a decade to pass the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act, a proposed law that would address the challenges facing transgender New Yorkers. The full Senate has never even voted on it. Instead, Senator Flanagan and his colleagues have buried the legislation in committee, ending any hope that it could be fully reviewed, or that transgender people might finally get redress from the extraordinary levels of discrimination they face.
“Governor Cuomo took executive action to protect transgender people because it was clear the Senate would not act. Instead of being debated by a handful of people in a committee in Albany, the Governor’s action will be subject to public comment and all of the scrutiny that entails. The Governor has the authority to propose these regulations, and he has exercised that authority judiciously to protect New York’s diverse populace. His leadership on this issue deserves praise, and we applaud him for taking action.”