ERA Update

May 14, 2024

NY Equal Rights Amendment:

ERA LEGAL UPDATE: An upstate judge ruled yesterday that the ERA amendment should be removed from the ballot.  (Byrne v Senate of NY, Index No. 000778-2023, Livingston County, J. Doyle). The ruling was based on an alleged flaw in the congressional passage process. The constitution says that proposed amendments should be reviewed by the attorney general for comment before a congressional vote. In this case, the proposal was voted upon the same day the legislature submitted the proposed language to the AG for review. (On July 1, 2022 - the first of two required passages, the second being in 2023).  AG James sent back comments 5 days later - July 6, 2022.  Republicans argued that the review must be returned before the legislature took its first vote. They say the 2022 vote was improper because the Legislature had not yet received the AG’s opinion.  The court agreed and ordered removal.

State Attorney General Letitia James’ office is expected to appeal the decision, which would pause the ruling while an appeals court hears the case. There are numerous grounds for reversal. (standing, harmlessness, language that specifies that failure to render an opinion does not affect the validity of the amendment, the second vote was well after receipt, internal legislative matters are not subject to judicial review,  etc.).  However, it it could be a close call. 

-Hon. James A. Yates (retired) and VID Executive Committee member.

WHY WE NEED THIS AMENDMENT: The ERA aims to enshrine abortion rights and other civil liberties into the state constitution. This is more critical now than ever with recent national legal developments, like an Alabama Supreme Court ruling affecting in vitro fertilization. The state's civil rights protections are at risk if these rights are not safeguarded in the state constitution, particularly in an era of evolving legal landscapes.

Beyond abortion, the ERA would protect against gender and gender identity discrimination, especially relevant amid New York's spotlight in the national discourse on transgender issues. The language includes ethnicity, national origin, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, pregnancy, pregnancy outcomes, reproductive health care and autonomy

ERA INFORMATION SESSION - PLEASE NOTE, FOR VID MEMBERS ONLY!
Hosted by Robin Yates and New Yorkers for Equal Rights. VID Members (ONLY) are welcome. May 20, @6:30pm. Please note, no charge for tickets, donations are optional. Click HERE for more details and to RSVP