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GOP-led N.Y. Senate blocks reparative therapy ban, transgender protections

Sunday, June 22, 2014
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ALBANY, N.Y. — The New York state Senate adjourned Friday without calling a vote on two LGBT-related bills passed by the Assembly — one that would ban reparative therapy for minors, and another that would have added gender identity to the state’s non-discrimination laws.

New York state capitol in Albany.

New York state capitol in Albany.

GOP Senate leaders blocked the two bills from going to the Senate floor for a full vote, where advocates said both measures had the votes needed to pass, according to the Empire State Pride Agenda.

The Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA), a bill to prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity and expression, passed in the Assembly on June 10. The measure has been approved in Assembly seven times since 2003, but has never come to a vote on the floor of the State Senate.

The second bill would have prohibited licensed psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, mental health practitioners and physicians from using the controversial practice of “gay-to-straight” conversion therapy on anyone under 18. The measure, approved by the Assemby on June 16, is modeled after similar legislation passed in California and New Jersey.

“We had the votes,” said Nathan Schaefer, executive director of the Empire State Pride Agenda, in a statement.

“The failure of the Senate Leadership to bring these bills to the floor for a vote leaves thousands of transgender New Yorkers vulnerable to discrimination in their homes, on the job and on the streets of their own neighborhoods. And children are left susceptible to harm in the offices of so-called therapists licensed by the State of New York,” said Schaefer.

State Sen. Brad Hoylman, the chamber’s only openly gay legislator, called the lack of action “bitterly disappointing,” and said “until we change the leadership of the State Senate, New Yorkers can continue to expect forward-thinking bills to stall.”

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