I recently discovered the existence of Local Law No. 3 (2002); N.Y.C. Admin. Code § 8-102(23) - which allows for people to be fined up to $250k for using the wrong gender pronouns.

Even after cutting through much hype about this law, and taking into account the legal guidance, I'm surprised that this kind of law exists in the USA, and - as a total foreigner - would have thought it unconstitutional (as an abrogation of the right to free speech).

As this law is well over a year old, has there been any case law which chimes in on the enforceability and legality of this law ?

Edit: Link to section of law allowing for these fines is here.

  • Have you actually looked up this law? The cited section simply defines the term "gender" and says nothing whatever about fines. Mar 23 '18 at 2:39
  • I quote the section in full: "The term "gender" shall include actual or perceived sex and shall also include a person's gender identity, self-image, appearance, behavior or expression, whether or not that gender identity, self-image, appearance, behavior or expression is different from that traditionally associated with the legal sex assigned to that person at birth." Local Law 3 (2002) inserted this definition into the code but had no other provisions. I think you may be misinformed. Mar 23 '18 at 2:43
  • I did read the law - have a look at the paragraph titled "Penalties in Administratvie Actions" at www1.nyc.gov/site/cchr/law/… - For the sake of clarity, I don't think the law is as draconian as its made out to be.
    – davidgo
    Mar 23 '18 at 2:49
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    So to summarize, the law imposes a fine for "unlawful discriminatory practices or acts of discriminatory harassment or violence" (8-126). The enforcement guidance says that intentional use of an inappropriate pronoun would be considered by the city government to violate this provision; this interpretation may or may not be upheld by courts. It should also be noted that this apparently only applies in the context of employment, public accommodations, and housing. Mar 23 '18 at 2:59
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    @NateEldredge S 8-101 states "to take other actions against prejudice, intolerance, bigotry, discrimination and bias-related violence or harassment as herein provided; and the commission established hereunder is hereby given general jurisdiction and power for such purposes.". S8-102 (9) provides a very broad meaning of "public accommodation" - including provision of goods, services, facilities, accommodations, advantages or privileges of any kind"
    – davidgo
    Mar 23 '18 at 3:10

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