The Illinois state Senate voted 32 to 21 in favor of a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage on Thursday. The law would redefine marriage as the legal union of two people, not specifically a man and a woman. It would also convert civil unions to marriages within a year's time. Religious institutions and individuals that oppose homosexuality would not be required to perform marriage ceremonies for same-sex couples.
Two years ago, Illinois passed historic civil union legislation. Now with the possibility of same-sex marriage being legalized, some conservative senators feel homosexuality is moving front and center in a threatening way. Senator Kyle McCarter (R-Lebanon) told reporters, "People have a right to live as they choose; they don't have the right to redefine marriage for all of us." Same-sex marriage has plenty of supporters, however, one being Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D), who says that "when two people love each other, no government entity should stand in the way of letting them express that love."
Governor Pat Quinn (D says he will sign the bill into the law if it passes in the state House, however it is unclear if the legislation will be brought to the House floor. This is the farthest a same-sex marriage bill has gotten in the Illinois General Assembly. If the bill is signed into law, it would make Illinois the 10th state to legalize same sex marriage.
Media Resources: Sources: Chicago Tribune 2/15/2013; New York Times 2/14/2013; Reuters 2/14/2013; Feminist Daily Newswire 1/08/2013
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .