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Hudson Valley Press

July 9th, 2014

New York State Fails to Pass Women’s Equality Act Once Again

Women’s equality has been dealt some tough blows over the past few weeks both in New York State and nationwide. Most recently, was this week’s 5-4 ruling by the United States Supreme Court that for-profit companies can use religious objections to avoid paying for contraception coverage required under Obamacare.

Since when does it make sense for big business to take precedent over the health and well-being of our mothers, daughters, sisters, aunts, nieces, wives, and other women in our lives?

And sadly, this unfortunate decision came right on the heels of yet another year of inaction by the New York State legislature with regard to women’s equality.

YWCA Orange County and the Women’s Equality Coalition are deeply disappointed that once again our lawmakers have failed to prioritize women and have allowed yet another legislative session to come to a close without passing the Women’s Equality Act to safeguard rights for all the women of New York.

Despite these recent failures, the hard work of all our members and advocates, and the tireless push by those legislators who have steadfastly supported the bill has made a big difference. Anyone who advocates for social justice knows you have to be in it for the long haul.

We will continue to push for what we know New York State’s women and families deserve - a complete package of legislation that addresses the many areas where women today face discrimination and barriers to equality including access to housing, safety, health care and work.

Our efforts have resulted in real gains. Thanks to the work of our Coalition it is now very clear to the public, and to every lawmaker, that the Women’s Equality Coalition is united, focused, and will not stop until we achieve all the necessary protections for women. We have a lot to be proud of as a Coalition.

* We are now a powerful statewide and unified voice with the singular message that women need and deserve equality and social justice.

* The consensus among our members that we need a full package of civil rights legislation denies lawmakers who oppose us any excuse to fail to act next year.

* We’ve reaped a clear payoff from our grassroots advocacy and education campaigns reflected in new polling showing that 84% of New Yorkers support the full WEA package.

We will continue our efforts and connect with everyone this summer to discuss future strategy.

The view from Albany is optimistic and the opportunities boundless. Our work has made a difference and we owe it to the women of New York to keep pushing. We can move forward in partnership-together, within our own organizations, and with our legislative partners, to achieve our common goal - the passage of the Women’s Equality Act to ensure that women and families can grow, prosper and thrive in New York State.

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