New York’s top court allows ‘equal rights’ amendment to appear on November ballot

A proposed amendment to New York’s constitution to bar discrimination over “gender identity” and “pregnancy outcomes” will appear on the ballot this November, the state’s high court ruled Thursday.

The decision from the Court of Appeals affirms a lower court ruling from June, dismissing an appeal “upon the ground that no substantial constitutional question is directly involved,” effectively declining to take up the case.

Democrats are hoping the ballot question will drive turnout in their favor this fall as the party frames the “equal rights” amendment as a way to protect abortion rights.

Republicans also have begun to strategize around the proposed amendment, moving to animate voters against the protections it might offer to transgender people.

A Republican state lawmaker had sued to block the ballot question, arguing that Democrats in the Legislature made a technical error when passing the amendment.

The state’s Constitution currently bans discrimination based on race, color, creed or religion. The proposed amendment would add ethnicity, national origin, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, pregnancy, pregnancy outcomes and reproductive health care and autonomy.

It would not explicitly protect abortion rights in New York, where access to the procedure is already considered very safe. Instead, the proposed amendment would stop a person from being discriminated against for having an abortion.

The ballot question has been a crucial part of Democrats’ election strategy in New York. The party has tried to center key House races in New York on abortion access, warning voters that Republicans would try to curtail access to the procedure and betting that Democrats would cast ballots to protect abortion rights after the overturning of Roe v. Wade.

Republicans in turn have moved to use the proposed amendment to energize their base, with some officials arguing it would allow minors to access gender-affirming health care without parental notification. Supporters of the ballot question have said it would not impact a parent’s involvement in such medical decisions.

In a statement, New York Republican Party Chairman Ed Cox said the court was wrong to reject the legal challenge and said the proposed amendment “is a radical departure from common sense.”

Copyright © 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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