NEW YORK — Mayor Edward I. Koch announced his new gay rights bill today, saying homosexual men and women "cannot be kept in the closet any longer."
"Legislation on this subject has been before the council for 15 years," Koch said. "Fifteen years is a long time, too long in fact, to deny the promise of equal protection to those who are so clearly the victims of discrimination."
The bill would ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in employment, housing and public accommodations.
The mayor, accompanied by 14 sponsors of the bill and representatives of the Coalition for Lesbian and Gay Rights at a City Hall news conference, said, "We should not be caught up in this unnecessary struggle any longer. We should simply accept the fact that a significant proportion of our population is homosexual in sexual orientation."
Chance of Passage Seen
Proponents believe that with the council's new leadership, the bill will be brought to the floor and could pass. Only once before has it gotten out of committee.
The new bill is designed to meet opponents' objections by including a provision stating, "It is not the function of this civil rights statute to promote a particular group or community."