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A New York judge has ruled that the state’s child welfare department discriminated against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people when it denied services to them.
The decision Thursday by the Manhattan court of appeals was the first in New York City, where there is no state statute barring discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
The appeals court said the department’s policy prohibiting services for gays and lesbians was discriminatory because it discriminated against people with gender identity disorders.
The department denied services, including those for LGBT adults, to two men who were in a committed relationship and two women, the court said.
The ruling came in a lawsuit filed by the New York Human Rights Commission, which advocates for civil rights.
The commission said in a statement that the decision is “a win for all who love, support and defend the dignity and worth of every person, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity, or race.”
The commission filed a lawsuit in December 2014 seeking to overturn a state law that prohibited discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in programs for children and youth.
The law was repealed last year by Gov.
Andrew Cuomo, who signed into law a bill barring discrimination against gays and transgender New Yorkers.
The governor, who was elected in 2016, has not yet decided whether to sign the bill into law.