(NY Post) Democrats in the New York Legislature are pushing to approve a 21st Century “Equal Rights Amendment” to the state constitution that would bestow legal protections to non-citizens — including illegal immigrants.
“Equality of Rights shall not be denied or abridged because of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, citizenship, marital status, age, gender, sex, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, physical or mental disability …” said the amendment advanced by Sen. Liz Krueger (D-Manhattan) and Assemblywoman Shelley Mayer (D-Westchester).
The “protection against discrimination … is needed to ensure an inclusive society with equal opportunity for personal fulfillment and respect for everyone in New York in all their diversity,” the amendment states.
The inclusion of the “citizenship” clause is turning into an explosive campaign issue because Mayer is now running to fill a vacant Westchester Senate seat in a special election on April 24. Her Republican opponent is former Rye Councilman Julie Killian.
The Senate GOP slammed the ERA proposal for aiding illegal immigrants while excluding “military status” for protections, a category included under current state civil rights law.
“Shelley Mayer and her radical New York City allies are so out of touch with the values of hard-working Westchester families they want to rewrite the Constitution to protect people who are here illegally while leaving our military heroes who are willing to fight and die for this country to fend for themselves,” charged Senate GOP campaign spokesman Scott Reif.
“There’s no better illustration of their misplaced priorities and why it would be such a mistake to hand them total control of our entire state government,” added Reif.
While the Democratic-run Assembly will likely pass ERA amendment, the measure will languish in the Senate – as long as the Republicans remain in charge. The GOP now holds a slim 31-30 numerical majority, though they also have a power-sharing arrangement with nine renegade Democrats that is under assault.
State Attorney General Schneiderman gave his blessing to the proposed ERA amendment in a January 29 legal opinion, saying it “will have no effect upon other provisions of the Constitution.”
The amendment would require passage by the Legislature in two consecutive years and then approved by voters in a statewide referendum.
Krueger defended the amendment to modernize an outdated constitution.
“We shouldn’t discriminate against someone who is a human being in New York State. Under any scenario. Whether or not you have citizenship,” Krueger said. “Let’s not allow you to be discriminated against because you are A, B or C. A lot of people in New York are not citizens.”
Krueger said she had no problem adding “military status” to the amendment.
Senate Democratic Party Campaign spokesman Mike Murphy defended the Krueger-Mayer proposal and slammed the GOP for supporting bigotry.
“It says a lot about Julie Killian that she is running her campaign opposing a bill that outlaws discrimination against pregnant women and people with disabilities. Westchester residents do not want Julie Killian and her Trump allies to spread hate and discrimination against women, immigrants and our LGBTQ community,” Murphy said.
Moreover, Krueger insisted the proposal does not bestow rights on non-citizens that they’re not entitled to under federal law, such as receiving certain government benefits. The amendment does not make them citizens, she said.
She stressed there’s a provision in the proposal that acknowledges that any part of it could be invalidated or pre-empted federal law or court rulings.