February 26, 2007
Subject: A.5046/Gottfried et al. S.786/Goodman, Hoffman
An act to amend the insurance law, in relation to discrimination because of sexual orientation.
This bill would amend the insurance law to prevent insurance companies from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation. The New York Civil Liberties Union strongly supports equal protection under the law for gays, lesbians and bisexuals and we strongly urge the passage of this bill.
In particular, this bill would outlaw insurance companies from charging higher rates, making stipulations on the services rendered or the amount of the policy, rejecting the policy and refusing to renew, issue or sell a policy to a person due to their sexual orientation. Current insurance law affords these protections against discrimination based on the applicant’s race, color, creed, national origin and disability.
This bill also would make it illegal for a company to inquire about a person’s sexual orientation in its insurance application process. The right to legal equality for gays, lesbians and bisexuals rests upon several fundamental constitutional principles. The fundamental right to privacy is guaranteed by the Fourth, Fifth, Ninth and Fourteenth Amendments.
Several Supreme Court decisions have underscored the principle that decisions about intimate relationships are personal and should be left up to the individual, including Griswold v. Connecticut, Loving v. Virginia, Eisenstadt v. Baird, and Roe v. Wade. Accordingly, the equality principle of the Fourteenth Amendment should be understood as protecting individuals against discrimination on the basis of sexual preference or orientation.
Discrimination against applicants for insurance based upon sexual orientation should not be permitted. NYCLU supports the passage of this bill.