Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act

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The Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act (SONDA) is a New York law which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. First introduced in the 1970s, SONDA was brought repeatedly to a vote in the state legislature until it was finally passed in 2002.[1]

The championing of SONDA led to the formation of the Empire State Pride Agenda in 1990.[2]


SONDA was first introduced to the Assembly on February 16, 1971 by Assembly leader Al Blumenthal (D-Manhattan) and in the Senate by Manfred Ohrenstein (D-Manhattan), only for it to be defeated. The bill was reintroduced in the Assembly in 1983, but was again defeated by a narrow margin.[2]

In 1990, Deborah Glick (D-Manhattan) became the first openly-gay member of the Assembly and put forward SONDA as a top priority of her campaign. The legislation was first passed by the Assembly on February 1, 1993, by a vote of 90-50, with 81 Democrats and 9 Republicans voting in favor, 14 Democrats and 36 Republicans against. It was stalled repeatedly in the Senate for the rest of the decade. Ultimately, the bill was passed by the Assembly on January 28, 2002, by a vote 113-27 and by the Senate on December 17, 2002, by a vote of 34 to 26. It was signed into law by Governor George Pataki the same day. It went into effect on January 16, 2003.[2][3][4]

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