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HomeWorldNew York’s ‘equal rights’ constitutional amendment restored to ballot by appeals court

New York’s ‘equal rights’ constitutional amendment restored to ballot by appeals court

ALBANY, N.Y. — A proposed amendment to the New York Constitution banning discrimination based on “gender identity” and “pregnancy outcomes” was reinstated to the November election ballot by a state appeals court on Tuesday.

The court’s ruling clears the way for a statewide referendum this fall on an amendment that has been praised by Democrats as a way to protect abortion rights and attacked by Republicans for the protections it could provide to transgender people.

In a brief decision, a panel of appellate judges overturned a May decision by a state judge to remove the proposed Equal Rights Amendment from the ballot.

That judge, Daniel Doyle, ruled that state lawmakers made a fatal procedural error in an initial round of approval for the proposed amendment, passing it a bit too quickly without waiting for a required legal memo from the attorney general.

In overturning that decision, the Appellate Division judges cited another legal technicality: They said the people who sued to block the amendment had missed a deadline to bring their legal challenge under a four-month statute of limitations. to take.

“This is a huge victory in our efforts to protect access to abortion in New York and to protect many vulnerable communities from discrimination,” New York Attorney General Letitia James said in a statement.

The New York Constitution currently prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, creed or religion. The proposed change would add to that list ethnicity, national origin, age, disability, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, pregnancy, pregnancy outcomes, and reproductive health care and autonomy.

The proposed amendment would not explicitly preserve a woman’s right to have a wife abortionbut would effectively prevent anyone from being discriminated against for following the procedure.

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The lawsuit against the measure was filed by Republican state Assemblywoman Marjorie Byrnes, whose office did not immediately return an email seeking comment.

Opponents of the amendment said the broad language around sexual orientation and gender could be interpreted by the courts as forcing sports leagues to allow transgender athletes to compete on female teams, or as weakening the ability of parents to make decisions about transgender health care.

Former US Representative Lee Zeldin, who has lobbied against the amendment, called it “left-wing madness” on change gender without parental notification or consent.”

Supporters of the proposed changes said it would not affect parental involvement in medical decisions involving minor children.

Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins ​​said she was “pleased that the courts dismissed this frivolous case brought forward by Republican extremists seeking to block equal rights here in New York.”

“Thankfully, this crucial amendment will be brought to the floor in November, giving all New Yorkers the opportunity to once again lead the country and stand up for equal rights for all,” she said.

Voters in the 2024 elections would have to approve the amendment before it becomes final.

Democrats in New York have hoped that putting an issue related to abortion on the agenda could boost turnout.

Doyle’s initial ruling was that lawmakers improperly approved the wording in the amendment before receiving a written opinion from the attorney general.

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