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Cuomo order bans state business with discriminatory firms

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signaled support for

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signaled support for legislation barring a "gay panic" legal defense that seeks to blame a victim's sexual orientation for a defendant's violent reaction. Credit: James Escher

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has signed an executive order banning state entities from conducting business with companies that promote or tolerate discrimination, and signaled his support for legislation that would bar a “gay panic” legal defense that seeks to blame a victim’s sexual orientation for a defendant’s violent reaction.

Cuomo, in a news release issued Sunday, took aim at the Trump administration, saying the push was necessary as the federal government “rolls back critical civil rights protections.”

“New York will fight every action this federal administration takes that attempts to undo progress we have made,” Cuomo, a Democrat, said in the release.

“With this executive order, New York reaffirms our commitment to protecting the rights of everyone,” Cuomo said. “We will enforce our robust protections against discrimination, and continue to build on our legacy of protecting all of us, not simply some of us.”

State entities include those agencies or departments overseen by Cuomo, as well as all public benefit corporations, public authorities, boards and commissions that include Cuomo-appointed leaders, according to the executive order. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is exempt.

The state organizations must change contracting procedures to make sure they don’t enter into contracts with organizations that have “institutional policies or practices that fail to address the harassment and discrimination of individuals on the basis of their gender identity, transgender status, gender dysphoria,” and other protected classes.

Cuomo signed the order Saturday and made comments Saturday night in support of banning the “gay panic” legal defense at the 17th annual Human Rights Gala in Manhattan. Other states that ban the defense are Illinois and California.

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