Albany, NY – Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a new Executive Order prohibiting all state agencies and pubic authorities from doing business with “companies that promote or tolerate discrimination,” at the 17th annual Human Rights Campaign gala today.
“New York will fight every action this federal administration takes to undo the progress we have made,” Cuomo said, invoking the multicultural heritage of the Empire State. “We welcome diversity under the enlightened understanding that it is not a weakness, but rather, our greatest strength.”
HRC Vice President JoDee Winterhof echoed the governor’s sentiments, saying, “by taking action to block discrimination in contracting, Governor Cuomo is once again leading by example to help protect LGBTQ workers and ensures our tax dollars don’t fund discrimination.” The state, home to America’s largest city, operates the country’s second-biggest economy, and the new order is expected to shake up the way Albany does business with its contractors.
In a related development, Cuomo also said he will introduce legislation outlawing the use of the so-called “gay panic” defense in New York’s criminal court system.
“Anyone who attacks another person, based on a perception, or discovery, of the victims gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation,” Cuomo stated, “must be stopped from mitigating guilt by placing blame on the victim“.
A recent high-profile murder case involving hip-hop pioneer Kidd Creole highlights this issue. Creole, 57, whose real name is Nathaniel Glover, believed his alleged victim, John Jolly, a homeless drifter, was making a sexual advance as Glover walked past him on a busy Manhattan street. Jolly had called out “what’s up?”, whereupon Glover produced a knife, and, police say, stabbed Jolly to death. Under existing law, Glover’s “gay panic” argument can be considered as a valid defense by a jury.
Cuomo concluded his remarks by noting that any school in his state, which fails to protect transgender students, will be ineligible for funding from Albany.
The governor’s actions are, senior Capitol officials say, a direct response to President Trump’s ongoing rollbacks of LGBT rights, which include a reversal of President Obama’s Title IX protections for transgender schoolchildren, signing a White House executive order permitting doctors and hospitals to refuse treatment to LGBT patients, and ejecting all transgender troops from the armed forces.
The White House declined comment on Cuomo’s orders.