Senator Anna M. Kaplan Helps Pass Historic LGBTQ Legislation

(Albany, NY) -- Today, the New York State Senate Majority will take up, and pass, a package of legislation on LGBTQ issues, including legalization of gestational surrogacy, a ban on the use of the "gay/trans panic" defense, and a measure restoring benefits to LGBTQ veterans. Senator Anna M. Kaplan (D-Great Neck) is co-sponsoring these bills, calling on the Assembly to pass them, and urging further action by both houses to support and protect LGBTQ people and families in New York.

Senator Anna M. Kaplan said “at a time when the rights of LGBTQ people are continually under assault, my Senate Majority colleagues and I recognize that we have a long way to go in the fight for equality, and we are taking aggressive action to stand up for LGBTQ New Yorkers.” 

The package of legislation advanced by the Senate Majority includes:

  • The Modern Family Act: This bill, S.2071, will lift the existing ban on genetic surrogacy and provide clear and decisive legal procedures to ensure children born through assisted reproduction and surrogacy have secure and legally recognized parental relationships with their intended parents.
  • Abolish “Gay Panic” Defense: This bill, S.3293, will limit the use of extreme emotional disturbance as an affirmative defense, commonly known as the “Gay Panic” or “Trans Panic” defense, to a charge of murder in the second degree.
  • NYS Restoration of Honor Act: This bill, S.45B, will restore eligibility for state programs and benefits for LGBTQ veterans and veterans with certain qualifying conditions who were less than honorably discharged from military service due solely to their sexual orientation, gender identity or expression or those who received less than honorable discharges as a result of military sexual trauma, traumatic brain injury, or post-traumatic stress disorder.
  • LGBTQ Suicide Prevention Task Force: This bill, S.6315, will establish the LGBTQ Youth and Young Adult Suicide Prevention Task Force to 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.
  • Gender Identity Data: This bill, S.6321, will require the collection of additional demographic information for an improved understanding of the diversity of the state's LGBTQ community and its needs and experiences.

Senator Kaplan continued, “passing the Modern family act will remove unnecessary barriers that too many families face on the path to parenthood, and undo questions of parental rights created by outdated laws that don’t reflect the reality of what modern families look like. By abolishing the “gay panic” defense, we are sending a strong message that there is no excuse for violence against LGBTQ people. And by passing the Restoration of Honor Act, we are taking care of our veterans who have suffered injustice due to past prejudice.” 

Senator Kaplan is also calling for the legislature to take up additional legislation she co-sponsors, which will further support and protect LGBTQ New Yorkers. The legislation includes:

  • New York State Supplier Diversity Act: This bill, S.49, establishes a new Division of Supplier Diversity within the Office of General Services to encourage greater diversity in New York State's procurement process by ensuring equal access to contracting opportunities for certified LGBT, disability, and veteran-owned small businesses.
  • Modern Family Birth Certificate Act: This bill, S.46, requires that parents have the option of appearing on their children's birth certificates as either "father," "mother," or "parent."
  • The Michael Sandy Act: This bill, S.1484, makes evidence of a defendant and victim in a hate crime case sharing the same protected category inadmissible unless the court finds it to be essential to the understanding of the crime based on proof.
  • Gender Neutral Single Occupancy Restrooms: This bill, S.5922, requires single use bathroom stalls in state owned or operated buildings be designated as gender neutral.

Senator Kaplan concluded, "Taken together, along with the passage of GENDA and the ban on conversion therapy, these are the biggest advancements for LGBTQ New Yorkers since the passage of marriage equality, and I couldn’t be more proud of this majority for prioritizing these efforts."