18 April 2014

No Apple In The Eye Of Those Who Want Equal Rights

New York is all but surrounded by states with laws that prohibit discrimination based on gender identity and expression.  Pennsylvania doesn't even have laws against discrimination based on sexual orientation, but Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut and New Jersey all prohibit that as well as discrimination against transgender people.

I'm sure this surprises many of you.  If it does, you probably don't live in the Empire State and are therefore unfamiliar with its landscape as well as its politics.

You see, New York is not, and has never been, a "progressive" state.  We not only have conservative, even reactionary people living in the rural upstate areas; we also have them right here in New York City.  The Big Apple isn't all Chelsea or Jackson Heights; we have communities of recently-arrived immigrants as well as conservative white people who have the same prejudices--some of which people rationalize with their religious beliefs.

One result is that while the State Assembly is dominated by Democrats, most who are more or less progressive, the State Senate is the province of reactionary Republicans.  The result is--as we have seen in Washington--gridlock.  But even when relations between the two legislative bodies, and between them and the Governor, are relatively harmonious, there is always a Sargasso Sea of tangled red tape bound by pure-and-simple inertia.  (By the way, I think that's one of the reasons why New York has not legalized marijuana for medical use, while its neighbors--again, with the exception of Pennsylvania--have done so.