Rhode Island Becomes Tenth State to Legalize Same-Sex Marriage
On Thursday, Rhode Island became the tenth state to legalize same-sex marriage. In a vote of 56 to 15, the Rhode Island state House approved changes in a bill approved by the state Senate. That evening Governor Lincoln Chafee (I) signed the bill into law.
Governor Chafee, who has been pushing for marriage equality since he was elected Governor position in 2010, wrote an op-ed in the New York Times explaining why he supported the bill. He said:
"A historic realignment is happening all around us, as Americans from all walks of life realize that this is the right thing to do. It is occurring both inside and outside of politics, through conversations at the office and over kitchen tables, and at different speeds in different parts of the country. But once the people have spoken, politics should do its part to make the change efficient and constructive... I have been heartened in recent months to see members of my old party coming around on marriage equality... That reflects sound political judgment, and some values that are at least as Republican as they are Democratic, including a belief in marriage as an institution and a desire to keep government out of our personal lives."
Rhode Island's decision on marriage equality has triggered outrage from some of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Archibishop Salvatore Cordileone from San Francisco wrote a statement calling marriage equality a "serious injustice." He said, "Therefore, regardless of what law is enacted, marriage remains the union of one man and one woman - by the very design of nature, it cannot be otherwise."
Nine other states as well as the District of Columbia have legalized same-sex marriage. The Delaware state Senate is scheduled to consider a bill that would legalize same sex marriage in the state on Tuesday.
Media Resources: Huffington Post 5/5/2013; ThinkProgress 5/2/2013; New York Times 5/1/2013
8/31/2015 Chicago Activists Continue Hunger Strike to Save Predominately Black Public High School - Chicago residents have entered the second week of their hunger strike protesting the closure of Dyett High School, in the predominately African-American Bronzeville neighborhood located on the South Side of Chicago.
Parents and community members are calling on the Chicago Board of Education to keep Dyett - the only open-enrollment, neighborhood school in its area - open and accept a community plan to revitalize the school with a focus on science and green technology. . . .
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. . . .