Op-Ed | Shield from supreme setbacks, State Constitution Equality Amendment heads to voters

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Photo courtesy of Assembly Member Rebecca A. Seawright’s office

When the United States Supreme Court issued its devastating ruling last June upsetting the landmark “Roe vs. Wade” abortion rights case, outrage, fear and shock were among the reactions Americans expressed in protests all across the nation.  

Here in New York, however, a broad coalition in support of the Equality Amendment to the State Constitution I sponsored in the NYS Assembly never stopped working for the past five years to obtain its passage.

We did it last summer in an extraordinary legislative session called by Governor Kathy Hochul and again this past January, along with New York State Senate approval both times.  

Thanks to my legislative colleagues, this consecutive passage in two separate sessions means that New York voters can both shield and enshrine a woman’s right to choose and obtain reproductive autonomy in the November 2024 general and presidential election. 

Our “Equality Amendment” expands protected classes to further guard against future ” Supreme Setbacks” by prohibiting discrimination based upon race, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, disability, creed, religion, or sex.  

This amendment includes sexual orientation, gender identity, or expression, pregnancy, pregnancy outcomes, reproductive health care and autonomy.

From the depths of despair caused by the Supreme Court swing to the far right, we can lead the nation and inspire the world by amending the State constitution to fully achieve the promise of equality and justice for all.

History teaches us, however, that there has been long-standing resistance to equal rights under the law.

Almost one hundred sixty years ago, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and the Suffragettes arrived in Albany, our state capital, to advocate for an equal rights amendment to the State constitution.  They were met with stiff and unyielding opposition.  

They planted the seeds of justice.  With our bold and collective advocacy and determination, a garden of equality will finally blossom.  We gratefully stand on their shoulders by realizing the unfulfilled dream that equal protection of the citizenry is indispensable to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.   This is the legacy of freedom we have successfully placed before New York voters to decide come November 2024.

Be sure you and your families, friends and neighbors are registered to vote.  We take nothing for granted. Support those organizations you prefer who have joined with us, who have displayed great diligence and dedication to the cause.  Speak out, come out, turn out.  If you want to join the effort contact our office at 212-288-4607 or email SeawrightR@NYAssembly.gov