New York fights back against guns and abortion after Supreme Court rulings

Anchoring the right to abortion in the constitution of the state will be tougher. Amending the state constitution is a years-long process that begins with the approval of the legislature. Then, after a general election, another seat of the legislature must pass the amendment before it is presented to voters in a ballot referendum.

But lawmakers took a first step on Friday when the Senate passed the Equal Rights Amendment, which along with guaranteeing the right to abortion and access to contraception, banned the government from discriminating against anyone based on a list of qualifications, including race, ethnicity, national origin, disability or gender – especially sexual orientation, gender identity and expression and pregnancy on the list of protected conditions. (A vote in the Assembly was expected to follow.)

Some of the protected classes in the language of the measure appeared to anticipate future rulings from the court, which also last week indicated it could quash cases establishing the right to same-sex marriage, consensual same-sex relationships and contraception.

“We’re playing legislative Whac-a-Mole with the Supreme Court,” said Senator Brad Hoylman, a Democrat in Manhattan. “Any time they come up with a bad idea, we’ll counter it with state-level legislation.”

“Civil liberties are at stake,” he added.

New York Republicans, who have little influence in either legislature, split on the Equal Rights amendment, by seven votes to 13. But they were united in opposition to the hidden carry bill, saying Democrats had tipped the balance way too hard in favor of restrictions.

“Instead of tackling the root of the problem and holding violent criminals accountable, Albany politicians are preventing law-abiding New Yorkers, who have undergone licensing classes, background checks, and a licensing process, from exercising their constitutional right to own and carry weapons” , he said. Robert Ortt, Republican Senate leader, who is from Western New York.

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