Originally posted on CBS New York:

ALBANY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Proposed New York state legislation would protect gender identity or expression from discrimination, and subject any violator to a potential hate crime prosecution.

The proposal would add gender identity to the current state law that already prohibits discrimination based on race, religion, age, sexual orientation and more in issues of housing, credit, employment and others.

The measure has some powerful Democratic sponsors, which could be enough to narrowly carry the bill. Versions of it have been pushed for years by gay and transgender advocates who won the landmark law legalizing same-sex marriage in 2011.

The District of Columbia, 16 states and several cities already have laws protecting gender identity and expression.

New York City is among the cities with protections for gender identity.

New York State’s large population, many corporate headquarters and national media concentration make it an important state for the effort.

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