Holding up protest signs, and with megaphones in hand and car horns honking in support, dozens of women’s rights advocates rallied last Saturday on Sunrise Highway in Lynbrook, demanding that State Senate Majority Coalition Leader Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre) bring the Women’s Equality Act to the floor of the Senate for a vote.
“Send emails every hour on the hour!” Tracey Brooks shouted into a microphone, urging the protesters to contact their local politicians. “They are counting, they are looking, and they need to be convinced. When we close out this legislative session, the laws of New York state will be that much better for the women of this state.”
Brooks, president and CEO of Family Planning Advocates for New York State, added that in 2010, Skelos made a commitment that New Yorkers expect him to keep. “He said that if the Republicans gained back leadership in the Senate, they would not stifle discussion or stifle votes,” Brooks said. “The 850 businesses and organizational members of the Women’s Equality Coalition and the 10 million women of New York deserve to have the Women’s Equality Act voted on this legislative session, and Skelos is blocking the legislation from coming to the floor, contrary to his commitment not to stifle votes.”
Skelos’s communication director, Kelly Cummings, said that Skelos is confident that an agreement can be reached with Governor Cuomo and the State Assembly on a bipartisan agenda that would provide New York women with equality, safety and financial well-being in their homes and workplaces.
“Senate Republicans have already led the way on a number of the measures advanced today by the governor,” Cummings said, “including strengthening human trafficking laws, protecting the victims of domestic violence and insisting on zero tolerance for sexual harassment.” However, Cummings added, the introduction of an abortion provision — a proposal that would strengthen the state’s abortion rights — into the current bill is a political maneuver designed to curry favor with “extremists” who want to expand late-term abortion and open the door to non-physicians performing abortions. “It’s wrong for New York,” she said.