A bill that would create legal protections for transgender New Yorkers and gender expression was approved by the Democratic-controlled state Legislature on Tuesday, the most significant piece of LGBTQ rights legislation to be approved in the last seven years.

Cheers erupted in the state Senate, now under Democratic control, shortly after the 42-19 vote was announced.

“When we’re able to pass marriage equality, none of us thought it would take eight years to get to today,” Stewart-Cousins said. “But we are here.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is expected to sign the measure into law.

Aspects of the bill were first approved in the state’s civil rights regulation by Cuomo in 2015 after Republicans, who controlled the Senate at the time, declined to take up the bill.

“The passage of GENDA – 16 years in the making – will codify our progressive reputation and ensure that all New Yorkers, regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation are treated equally and with respect,” said Sen. Brad Hoylman.

“As the Trump administration continues to roll back protections for LGBTQ Americans, today’s victory sends a strong message to LGBTQ people across New York: you are loved, understood, and protected by your state government. We will not let you down.”

Lawmakers had previously in 2002 approved the Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act, but advocates have argued the legislation fell short of protections for transgender and gender expression when it comes housing, the workplace and other facets of life.

“Today is an historic day,” said Assemblyman Richard Gottfried.

“The Assembly has passed the bill 11 times, but the Senate’s Republican Majority refused to let the bill have a floor vote. Today, the new Democratic Majority has joined us in protecting the rights of New Yorkers regardless of gender identity or expression. I look forward to Governor Cuomo signing GENDA into law.”