The bill was passed by a vote of 44 to 5 on Thursday. The new law tasks the New York City Commission on Human Rights with investigating complaints about height and weight discrimination and their current ability to investigate complaints over age, gender, and race.
When asked about the new law, Mayor Adams stated that "science" has proven that being overweight is not necessarily connected to being unhealthy. He emphasized that the law is not about fighting against obesity but being fair to everyone. "We're going to continue to talk about our progressive health agenda. Science has shown body type is not a connection to if you're healthy or unhealthy, and I think that's a misnomer we are really dispelling," he said.
The law has received criticism from some, including Republican New York City Council minority leader Joseph Borelli, who believes that it will allow New Yorkers to "sue anyone and everything." Borelli, who is overweight, stated that he is not a victim and that no one should feel bad for him except his struggling shirt buttons.
One of the bill's sponsors, Councilman Shaun Abreu, gained 40 lbs during the COVID lockdowns and said that putting on that much weight made him understand the "silent burden" of weight discrimination.
New York City Commission on Human Rights Commissioner and Chair Annabel Palma explained that most forms of appearance-based discrimination have persisted unchecked and that the new law makes it clear that no one should be denied an opportunity based on height or weight. "As we have done for decades, the Commission looks forward to working with all stakeholders to cultivate an equitable city for all," she said.