Senate Majority Passes Equal Rights Amendment (ERA)

Andrea Stewart-Cousins

June 17, 2019

(Albany, NY) The Senate Democratic Majority today advanced the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), which will expand protections under New York State’s constitution for women, LGBTQ individuals, the elderly, and New Yorkers living with a disability.

“Today, we further the fight for justice for women by moving this crucial amendment forward. At the same time, we are standing up for the rights of the LGBTQ community, the elderly, and the disabled,” Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said. “In the face of a federal administration that has shown a commitment to rolling back so many hard earned rights it is imperative that New York lead the way in saying that equality for all should be the bedrock of our society. I thank Senator Liz Krueger for her steadfast leadership in this effort." 

Bill Sponsor, Senator Liz Krueger said, “Equal rights are for everyone. The 1930s-era equal rights language in our state constitution is long overdue for an update. Women have waited far too long to be included, but so have LGBTQ people, people with disabilities, Latinx people, and everyone who has faced discrimination based on characteristics that are beyond their control. First passage of a real, inclusive ERA in the Senate means we’re one step closer to having a constitution that reflects and protects all New Yorkers.”

Currently, section 11 of New York State’s constitution provides protection from public or private discrimination only on the basis of race, color, and creed. This section was adopted in 1938, prior to the civil rights movement, the women's movement, the LGBTQ movement, the disability rights movement and the many other challenges to discrimination in our state and nation.

The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), S. 517B, will:

Expand the classifications that are covered under section 11 to include sex including pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, ethnicity, age, and disability.

Define the term "civil rights" to make section 11 self-executing.

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