Friday, 26 September 2014

Cuomo Presses Candidates to Back Women’s Equality Act

Seeking to pressure lawmakers into fulfilling the campaign promises they make, and to mobilize female voters to support his re-election, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Thursday called on state legislative candidates to sign a pledge endorsing his 10-point Women’s Equality Act, which would bolster laws against sexual harassment, domestic violence and salary discrimination.
Mr. Cuomo, a Democrat, pushed for the legislation in 2013, at one point visiting Seneca Falls, the scene of the first women’s rights convention, to promote it. Though many of the proposals enjoyed wide, bipartisan support, the package also includes a more divisive provision designed to strengthen abortion-rights language in state law. In the end, the legislation was defeated even after the governor dropped his all-or-nothing strategy in hopes of seeing the other nine provisions pass.
The pledge introduced on Thursday was the creation of the Women’s Equality Party, which was formed by Mr. Cuomo’s allies and has obtained a ballot line for the election in November. The governor and his running mate for lieutenant governor, former Representative Kathy Hochul, signed it at a “Women for Cuomo” luncheon at the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan.
Afterward, Mr. Cuomo sounded uncompromising and said the pledge could help prevent legislators from flip-flopping on issues of importance to women.
“I can’t tell you how many elected officials there were who would say one thing to the women of this state and then do something different when it came time to vote,” he said. “The Women’s Equality Party says we deserve the right to know your position.”
Mr. Cuomo said the pledge was not aimed at his Republican opponent, Rob Astorino, the Westchester County executive, who opposes abortion rights.
Asked about an exchange of negative advertisements this week with Mr. Astorino, whose newest commercial satirically labels Mr. Cuomo a “unicorn killer” in an effort to undercut what Mr. Astorino asserts are misleading attacks by the governor, Mr. Cuomo said he had not seen the ad.
“Also, I have not murdered any unicorns,” he said, adding that perhaps he would add an 11th point to the equality legislation: “Even women, all women, are against murdering unicorns.”


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