With so much of the country turning back the clock on our movement toward justice, it is imperative that New York has a constitution that protects all New Yorkers from discrimination based on race, ethnicity, national origin, disability, and sex – including pregnancy and pregnancy outcomes, sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression.
Our state legislature passed a state constitutional amendment that adds these new protections to our constitution. Now, New Yorkers will have the opportunity to vote on the Amendment on the November 2024 ballot. If voters approve it, the Equal Rights Amendment will be added to our constitution and millions of New Yorkers will gain new protections against discrimination.
Our State Constitution Does Not Protect All of Us
Our New York State Constitution is wholly inadequate when it comes to ensuring equality. We need a constitution with broad protections for every New Yorker.
The current New York State Constitution fails to prohibit discrimination against groups who have been historically targeted, including those with disabilities, LGBTQI+ individuals, immigrants, women, and pregnant people.
We must pass an Equal Rights Amendment worthy of the 21st century that protects us all.
What the Equal Rights Amendment Would Do
The ERA would prohibit discrimination by the government based on a person’s ethnicity, national origin, age, disability, and sex — including their sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, pregnancy and pregnancy outcomes. It would also protect against any government actions that would curtail a person’s reproductive autonomy or their access to reproductive health care.
Even before the Supreme Court struck down Roe, access to abortion and other reproductive care was already nonexistent in many parts of the country – and even in New York, some people still struggle to get the care they need. The ERA would, for the first time, explicitly include language to clarify that discrimination based on a person’s pregnancy or pregnancy outcome is sex discrimination – this is crucial given the national trend of criminalizing people for various pregnancy outcomes, as well as the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade.
In the first episode of our podcast, Rights This Way, our experts break down the Equal Rights Amendment and what's next in the fight for its passage.
Passing the Equal Rights Amendment
The good news is we are on the path to expanding equal protection for all New Yorkers. Our state legislature passed a state constitutional amendment that creates new protections in our constitution against discrimination based on a person’s ethnicity, national origin, disability, age, and sex — including sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, pregnancy and pregnancy outcomes, and reproductive health care and autonomy.
Our constitution requires all constitutional amendments to pass the legislature twice before giving the public the opportunity to vote on the measure. Now, New Yorkers will have the opportuity to vote on the Amendment on the November 2024 ballot. If voters approve it, the Equal Rights Amendment will be added to our constitution and millions of New Yorkers will gain new protections against discrimination.
With a Supreme Court empowered to roll back fundamental rights and protections that advance equality, it's crucial that New York steps forward to lead and meet the moment by enshrining protections against discrimination in our state Constitution.