WA State Senate Staffer Says Gays Can Go "Grow Their Own Food"
A staff person for Washington state Senator Mike Hewitt (R-Walla Walla) recently told a Washington blogger that LGBT individuals can fend for themselves when they are denied services under a recently proposed bill.
Jay Castro, a reader of the Washington blog column Slog at The Stranger, called Senator Hewitt's office to ask about his sponsorship of SB 5927, which would allow people to refuse to provide services and discriminate against LGBT people because of "sincerely held religious beliefs." Castro asked an unidentified staffer, "What are rural gays supposed to do if the only gas station or grocery store for miles won't sell them gas and food?" Hewitt's staffer responded to Castro, "Well, gay people can just grow their own food" (emphasis added).
When Slog blogger Anna Minard attempted to call the office for clarification, she was hung up on three times by staffers before being told "It was a poor response to a question, that's really all I want to say about that. [Castro] caught me at a bad time; I'm not interested in answering hypotheticals. It was a combative call. Patience was lost, mistakes were made, and that's it." The spokesperson said that the staffer's comment was not representative of Hewitt's views on the proposal.
Media Resources: Huffington Post 4/29/2013; ThinkProgress 4/29/2013; Slog 4/26/2013
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. . . .