Equal Rights Amendment
As a constituent and an ardent supporter of equal rights for all, I encourage you to pass the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) provisions contained in the 2021-22 New York State Executive Budget.
Sadly, the New York State Constitution does not prohibit discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, ethnicity, national origin, age and disability.
To remedy this permissible inequity, the New York State Legislature must enact amendments to the New York State Constitution to define the aforementioned groups as protected classes under the law. Such amendments are contained in a concurrent resolution that is included in the proposed executive budget. Similar amendments can also be found in standalone legislation ― S.1268 (Kruger)/A.760 (Seawright), which also adds "pregnancy and pregnancy outcomes" to the list of protected classes.
In 1972, New York State joined other US states in an attempt to ratify the federal Equal Rights Amendment, which included equal legal rights regardless of one's sex, however, state lawmakers neglected to establish sex as a protected class within the New York State Constitution.
Despite the fact that women make up a majority of the population of our country and our state, women are still treated unfairly and are denied equal treatment under the law. The absence of an explicit prohibition against sex discrimination in the U.S. Constitution and the New York State Constitution remains a key impediment in the fight for women to achieve equal status under the law.
Furthermore, women have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic as they are often expected, in our society, to care for children and other family members. Before the pandemic, women comprised more than 50% of the nation's workforce. This underscores their importance to our economy, however, since the COVID-19 pandemic, that number has declined sharply. Nearly 3 million American women have left the labor force over the past year. Mothers of young children, in particular, have been furloughed or laid off. Many others have been forced to choose between showing up at their jobs or caring for their children whose daycare centers are closed or schools have transferred to remote learning.
Equal protection under the law for additional classes of New Yorkers is long overdue. New York State has the opportunity to lead the way and serve as a national model of equality by enshrining these protections in our State Constitution.
Thank you for your consideration of this important matter. I respectfully ask that you bring up this issue with your conference and advocate for its passage. I look forward to a reply to my email. Sincerely,
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