SYRACUSE, NY (WSYR-TV) - Transgender activists in Syracuse are pushing for a change in local discrimination laws. The first step could likely come on Monday when the Syracuse Common Council votes to amend the city's Fair Practice Law.
As it stands now, the fair practice law makes it illegal to discriminate based on sexual orientation.
The amendment would modify this law, making it illegal to discriminate based on "actual or perceived sex, or their gender identity or expression."
The New York Civil Liberties Union is pushing for modified legislation.
“When people are discriminated against because of who they are, that's not right. And sometimes you have to enact that into law for people to understand that it's wrong. That's what we're doing here,” said Barrie Gewanter with the NYCLU.
The city law would have civil penalties, though Gewanter said it is not aimed at creating lawsuits.
“A civil rights law establishes a value, an expectation in a particular society that we don't believe that discrimination should happen. This sets an expectation for people's behavior. Not for how they think but how they treat people,” said Gewanter.
The NCLU is also pushing for modified legislation across the state.
Gewanter said the "Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act" has passed the New York State Assembly four times, but the State Senate has never voted on the bill.