Yesterday, the Delaware state legislature voted to legalize same-sex marriage and the bill was signed into law by the governor moments afterwards.
The bill passed in the state House two weeks ago on a vote of 23 to 18. It was approved by the Senate yesterday on a vote of 12 to 9. Governor Jack Markell (D) signed the bill into law on the stairs of the main lobby of Legislative Hall minutes after it was approved by the Senate. Markell told activists and reporters, "It's a great day in Delaware... I am signing this bill now because I do not intend to make any of you wait one moment longer." Same-sex couples will be able to officially get married starting July 1st.
The vote comes less than a week after 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.
Media Resources: New York Times 5/7/2013; USA Today 5/7/2013; Feminist Newswire 5/6/2013
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. . . .