New York – An executive order signed by Governor Cuomo that would cut state funding to any entity that discriminates against individuals who practice alternative lifestyles has caused concern in the Jewish community, but according to a source in Albany, those worries are completely unfounded.
Executive Order 177 was signed by Governor Cuomo on February 4th, and was designed to “further protect New Yorkers’ civil rights by banning all state agencies and authorities from doing business with companies that promote or tolerate discrimination.”
But while some have wondered aloud if the order would force yeshivos to choose between accepting much needed state funding or admitting students whose moral values are in conflict with religious law, the source said that those concerns are much ado about nothing because by definition, an executive order cannot supersede the Constitution and its statutes.
The source, who spoke to VIN News on condition of anonymity, said that the governor’s order was subject to all religious protections currently offered by the First Amendment, which would exempt religious schools, synagogues and, possibly, non-profit communal organizations.
Cuomo originally announced the new initiative last Saturday at a Human Rights Campaign event taking place in Manhattan, reported NBC News (http://nbcnews.to/2BLTN64). In his remarks, the governor faulted President Donald Trump for allowing discrimination against those who practice alternative lifestyles by providing religious liberty protections under federal law.
“What that means is a business can refuse to serve LGBTQ individuals because it violates their religious beliefs,” said Cuomo. “They did that. So today I’m signing an executive order prohibiting New York State government from doing business with any entity that discriminates against any New Yorker, period.”
Assemblyman Dov Hikind, who criticized Cuomo on Twitter earlier in the week for refusing to respect cultural sensitivities, said that he was pleased to hear that the finer points of the executive order had been clarified and would be tolerant of religious sensitivities.
“We are living in a period now where practically everyone in the Democratic party is running for president and everyone want to be to the left of the left,” Hikind told VIN News. “We have gotten to the point where people have moved so far to the left that they just fall off the cliff.”