Ban on 'Gay Propaganda' Passes First Reading in Russian Parliament
A new bill that would ban "gay propaganda" from being directed towards minors passed its first reading in the Russian Lower House today.
The bill states that children need to be protected from "homosexual propaganda" and that "this propaganda goes through the mass media and public events that propagate homosexuality as normal behavior." This could potentially ban events campaigning for LGBT rights and mean hefty fines for organizers for creating "false perceptions of the social equality of traditional and nontraditional sexual relations."
Yelena Kostyuchenko, a Russian journalist and LGBT rights supporter, told reporters that "The law absolutely does not define what gay propaganda is and the reasons are understandable because gay propaganda does not exist. ...In that respect, any information on, as the law puts it, 'equal values of traditional and unorthodox marital relations' is considered 'gay propaganda'."
Homosexuality was decriminalized in Russia in 1993, however many LGBT individuals still face discrimination. About two-thirds of Russians consider homosexuality to be a "disease" or a "bad habit," according to Bloomberg. Gay pride events are banned in the capital city, and many cities currently have similar laws banning "gay propaganda" already in place.
The bill must pass two more readings in the Lower House, and then be approved by the Upper House and President Vladimir Putin before being enacted into law.
Media Resources: BBC 1/25/2013; Bloomberg 1/25/2013; Washington Post 1/25/2013
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. . . .