The LGBTQ pride flag was raised over New York's state Capitol for the first time ever, but with just six days left in this year’s legislative session, action is required to make the flag more than just a symbol.
Legislators need to move quickly to deliver on some key LGBTQ bills. Here's how you can help:
With little time remaining in the session, let's make a push on these key bills that have passed the Senate, but, not the Assembly:
The Child-Parent Security Act (S.2071/A.1071C): Deemed as unenforceable in New York State, many same-sex couples and couples with fertility challenges are currently forced to leave the state to have a child via compensating a gestational carrier (i.e. a person that carries a pregnancy but has no genetic link to the resulting child). This act lifts the current ban on surrogacy contracts and seeks to legalize gestational carrier arrangements.
Abolishing “Gay Panic” Defense (S.3293/A2707): Oppressive attitudes and rash actions towards LGBTQI people should never be used as justification for violence. This bill limits the extreme emotional disturbance affirmative defense, otherwise known as the gay and/or trans panic defense, by removing the discovery, knowledge or disclosure of the victim's sexual orientation or gender identity as an affirmative defense in cases of second-degree murder.
LGBTQ Suicide Prevention Task Force (S.6315): According to research done by the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention in 2016, LGBTQ youth seriously contemplate suicide almost three times the rate of heterosexual youth. The LGBTQ Youth and Young Adult Suicide Prevention Task Force would examine, evaluate, and determine how to improve mental health and suicide prevention for New York's LGBTQ youth and young adults up to the age of 24.
NYS Restoration of Honor Act (S.45-B/A8097): At least 53 state benefits are directly contingent upon a veteran’s discharge status, potentially disqualifying veterans from accessing these resources if they were discharged due to sexual orientation or gender identity. The Restoration of Honor Act would make veterans who were discharged due to their sexual orientation or gender identity eligible for programs, services, and benefits available at the state level.
Gender Identity Data (S.6321/A7929): While LGBTQI people in this state share geographical and cultural commonalities, they also experience diverse social, educational, health, and economic differences that are unique to their life experiences. Given the diversity of the population, categorizing data for different identities within the population and making the data publicly accessible is critical for enhancing our state's understanding of the needs and experiences of LGBTQI people.
Three simple things you can do to help:
1. Call your Assembly Representative.
Find their phone number here: https://nyassembly.gov/mem/
(Not sure who represent you, find them here: https://nyassembly.gov/mem/search/)
Voice your support and tell them: "It's the fiftieth anniversary of Stonewall, and your LGBTQ constituents need to know you have their back. Please support and bring to a vote the following bills: A1071C, A2707, A8097, A7929, and the creation of a LGBTQ Suicide Prevention Task Force."
If you have a personal story of how any of these bills affects you personally, tell your story!
2. Call Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie: 518-455-3791
The Speaker determines what bills come to the floor. Share the same script as above!
3. Bring it to social media!
Sample tweet: ".@NYSA_Majority It's the fiftieth anniversary of Stonewall, and your LGBTQ constituents need to know you have their back. Please support and bring to a vote the following bills: A1071C, A2707, A8097, A7929, and the creation of a LGBTQ Suicide Prevention Task Force."
Or retweet the below:
It's the fiftieth anniversary of Stonewall, and your LGBTQ constituents need to know you have their back. Please support and bring to a vote the following bills: A1071C, A2707, A8097, A7929, and the creation of a LGBTQ Suicide Prevention Task Force.
— Stonewall Democrats (@SDNYC) June 12, 2019
2019 has been a monumental year for progress in New York. While the legislative session might be winding down, we can keep the heat up and keep moving our state forward!