Minnesota Becomes 12th State to Legalize Same-Sex Marriage
Yesterday the Minnesota state Senate approved a bill that will allow same-sex couples to marry in the state beginning August 1, 2013. The Minnesota Senate voted in favor of marriage equality 37 to 30, after the state House approved the bill on Thursday in a vote of 75 to 59. Governor Mark Dayton (D) is scheduled to sign the bill into law tomorrow.
Senator Roger Reinert (DFL-District 07) spoke to members of the Senate about his sister's choice to marry and about his own future dreams of marriage: "Fifty years ago, it would be about the color of her skin. One hundred years ago, it would be about her gender. Each time our country reached this decision point it has come out on the right side of history... Expanding rights does nothing to diminish mine. I vote today to give something that is not mine to give. I vote today to recognize for all, the very same desires I have for myself."
Senator Vicki Jensen (DFL-District 24) said, "I could never and I would never deny the kind of recognition and all the other positive things I get out of my marriage with my husband, to anyone else."
Senator Scott Dibble (DFL-District 61), the bill's sponsor, argued before the Senate, "Here in Minnesota, Richard [my husband] and I are legal strangers to each other. How can that be OK?... Vote yes for freedom, vote yes for family, for commitment, for responsibility, for dignity. Vote yes for love."
Once the governor signs the bill into law, Minnesota will join Rhode Island, Delaware and nine other states and the District of Columbia in allowing same-sex couples to marry. Delaware and Rhode Island approved similar measures last week.
Media Resources: Associated Press 5/13/2013; Christian Science Monitor 5/13/2013; MSNBC 5/13/2013; Feminist Newswire 5/10/2013, 5/8/2013
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. . . .