Highlights of Senator Duane’s Career

Written by NYPress on . Posted in Politics.


One of the loudest voices in the gay community plans on resigning after 14 years

Tom Duane - photo by PhilipRobertson

After what will be 14 years as part of the New York State Senate, Senator Tom Duane, 57, has “decided that it is time for a new chapter” in his life. In a statement released Monday, Duane announced that he does not intend to run for an eighth term.

“The fight never ends,” Duane said in his statement, “On January 1st, while I may no longer be a Senator, I will continue to be an activist and an advocate. I will hold those positions for life.”

Grabbing headlines as the first openly-gay member of the Senate, Duane, also openly HIV-positive, is best known for his efforts to help the gay community. He was an influential voice in the effort for the legalization of same-sex marriage in New York and the promotion of accessible HIV testing. While much of his focus was on medical issues and healthcare protection, Duane also headed efforts to eliminate bullying in schools, to eliminate statutes of limitations in sex crime laws, and to bring light to sex trafficking.

Below are a few of Duane’s noteworthy political achievements:

  • In 2001 Duane proposed the Marriage Equality Act and, after a decade fighting for its approval, was finally successful when it was enacted in 2011
  • In 2006, Timothy’s Law, strongly supported by Duane, was passed and helps mentally ill patients avoid discrimination from insurance companies
  • In 2007, with Duane assuring that key elements of it were passed, Manny’s Law, which requires hospitals to tell all patients of the funds available to them, came into effect
  • In 2009, the Dignity for All Students Act, created by Senator Duane, was passed and helps keep vulnerable students safe from bullying and harassment
  • In 2010 Senator Duane helped pass the Family Health Care Decisions Act, which gives family members medical decision-making power over incapacitated patients
  • Also in 2010, the Sex Trafficking Victims Second Chance Act, proposed by Duane, was passed and helps sex trafficking victims clear their records of prostitution-related charges

According to his statement, Senator Duane plans on moving back to New York Citywhen his current term ends on December 31st.

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