Earlier today, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced a series of aggressive actions to counter the Trump Administration's expected efforts to legalize discrimination against transgender individuals seeking access to health care. In anticipation of the federal government's rollback of a key provision of the Affordable Care Act, the Governor has directed the New York State Department of Health to issue regulations prohibiting health care providers from discriminating against transgender patients. The Governor also directed the New York State Department of Financial Services to issue regulations expanding the scope of anti-discrimination protections for transgender individuals when it comes to accessing health insurance, and to issue a circular letter reminding industry participants that discrimination on the basis of gender identity is already prohibited in New York in certain policies. More information is available here.
VIDEO of the event is available on YouTube here and in TV quality (h.264, mp4) format here.
AUDIO of the event is available here.
PHOTOS of the event will be available on Governor Cuomo's Flickr page.
A rush transcript of the Governor's remarks is available below:
Governor Cuomo: Thank you. Happy Pride. Is there anybody in the room that Glennda Testone did not acknowledge? Glennda Testone, she is such a champion, such an advocate, such an inspiration to all of us, let's give Glennda a round of applause. Our great Speaker, who, when I was sitting next to him, I stopped him from eating the cupcake. As soon as I got up, he has now inhaled the cupcake. But he is a great city leader, Speaker Corey Johnson, let's give him a round of applause. Our Lieutenant Governor, Kathy Hochul. Our national champion for labor and working families and individual's rights and for the LGBTQ community, Randi Weingarten. We're going to hear from Stuart Appelbaum, let's give him a round of applause. My counsel, Alphonso David. I like to say that he's the brains of the operation and I'm the good looks of the operation. He' likes to say he's the brains and the good looks of the operation. Alphonso David, let's give him a round of applause.
As you heard from Glennda, we just opened a memorial in the Hudson River Park, right on the Hudson River, in sight of the Statue of Liberty that you must see, you must see. It is breathtaking, and it is powerful. It remembers the 49 lives lost in Orlando, but it remembers all the people who have suffered from hate, and ignorance, and bigotry, and it is truly an inspiration and I'm proud that we have it prominently on Hudson River Park, right there in view of the Statue of Liberty. That's where it should have been, and that's where it is.
48 years of the Pride parade. Next year is the 50th year since Stonewall. It has been a long and a rough and bumpy journey. Some years we come together during the Pride parade and we are mourning. Some years we came together and we were talking about comforting one another. Some years we came together to advocate. Some years we came together to celebrate. Seven years ago today, New York State passed marriage equality. And when New York acts, it makes a difference in the entire nation. And when we passed marriage equality, it changed the dialogue all across this nation, he says with the arrogance of a New Yorker. But it's also true. So congratulations to you for getting it passed.
Today in this parade we mourn Orlando 49, we honor Edie Windsor and what she did, and we memorialize her. What a champion. But we also come together to mobilize against the extreme conservative wave that is taking over this country. And it's an extreme conservative wave that starts in Washington, D.C. and is rippling all across this nation. And what it's trying to do is take our greatest strength, which is our diversity and our differences, and demonize those differences. And that, my friends, is spreading a cancer in the body politic. Because this nation is all about differences. We are unique on the globe. We are the one place that is not about one race, one religion. We said, come one, come all. We invited people of different countries and different religions and different colors of skin to come to this country and we said we would forge one, in commonality, from that diversity. And when you now say the diversity is a negative, well then you are putting wedges all throughout society. And that's what they're doing.
They're anti-LGBTQ, they made it clear from day one. They made it clear when as soon as they got into the White House, they said that the Department of Defense should discharge transgender people regardless of merit. Just because they're transgender. They said it when they went to the Department of Education and they rolled back protections for transgender youth. They said it when they went to the Department of Justice and rolled back protections against discrimination on the basis of gender identity. They did it when they applauded the court case allowing the Colorado baker not to make a cake for an LGBTQ marriage. I don't know what they're thinking in Colorado. I don't know what ingredients they put in their cake. I don't know what their recipe is for their cake, but I can tell you this, there's no hate in our cake in New York, that's for sure. I like that. "No hate in my cake." Says it all. And it's not just, it's not just anti-LGBTQ. They are against anyone who is different. It's the travel ban, it's anti-Muslim, it's abandoning the people of Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, even though, even though they're American citizens. All they saw was Puerto Rican, different language, different skin color, different accent. An extreme conservative, because it's not just their view, they want to impose their view on you. And that's what makes them frightening and that's what makes them dangerous and that's why they have to be stopped and that's why New York has to be the state to do it. Because it will spread, and it is spreading. You have more Ku Klux Klan groups today than you did five years ago, more White Supremacist groups than we've had before. 80 percent increase in New York on anti-Semitic activity. That's what happens when you start to turn one against another. It becomes a cancer and an infection and it runs all through the body and that's what they're doing.
It's not even that they're stopping. They are now planning a rollback on a President Obama healthcare provision which would allow healthcare companies to discriminate on the basis of gender identity, which means they could discriminate against transgenders. And we say again in New York, no how, no way. I'm signing a regulation today that says I don't care what the federal government says, you do not discriminate against anyone on the basis of race, color, creed, sexual identification. You do not discriminate against the LGBTQ community, it will not happen in New York, period.
And for every step the Trump administration takes backwards, New York is going to take two steps forward. They want to roll back protections, we're the state that said we're going to end the AIDS epidemic by 2020, and we're going to save lives. We're the state that said we have a hate crimes task force, and if you commit hate crime in this state, you're going to be prosecuted, and you're going to pay a heavy, heavy penalty, because we have no tolerance for prejudice or discrimination, period. And we're going to make that known and enforce those laws.
We protect transgendered children in our education system, and we always will. We're going to protect LGBTQ members in our healthcare system and we always will, and we're going to lead the way forward in all of these issues. At a time when the nation is feeling this turmoil, and feeling this hate and anger coming from Washington, this negativity, this judgmentalism, this divisiveness, New York has to be the safe harbor and the alternative path. Let them talk about hate, we will talk about love. Let them talk about discrimination, we will talk about community and coming together. Let them talk about intolerance, we will show tolerance. We have the lady in our harbor, and the lady in our harbor said everything that needed to be said about this country. Opportunity for all, acceptance of all, discrimination of none, and from individuality, we will form community, respecting the individuality, and celebrating the diversity, but coming together as one community and that's what makes us strong and special as a nation. And New York says we can do that.19 million people. Gay, straight, black, white, brown, all across the world, we have representatives here. And yes, we celebrate our individually, but we are one state and one nation, and let New York State be the alternative reality to Trump's America. Because we're not going there. Thank you and God bless you.