On Thursday, the Boy Scouts of America voted to allow openly gay youth to participate in the organization. Openly gay leaders and adults are still prohibited from taking part.
Over 1,400 members of the BSA National Council voted on the proposed change, with over 60 percent voting in favor of allowing gay youth. However, openly gay members will not be allowed to continue with the organization once they turn 18 and gay troop leaders are still prohibited.
Matt Comer, 27, who was kicked out of the Boy Scouts when at age 14 because of his sexual orientation welcomed the news. "Today we finally have some justice for me and others," he said. "But gay youths will still be told they are no longer welcome when they turn 18."
Eagle Scout and executive director of Scouts for Equality, Zach Wahls, said, "The Boy Scouts of America can do better. We welcome the news that the ban on gay Scouts is history, but our work isn't over until we honor the Scout Law by making this American institution open and affirming to all."
Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin said, "Today is a historic day for Boy Scouts across the country who want to be a part of this great American institution. But the new policy doesn't go far enough. Parents and adults of good moral character, regardless of sexual orientation, should be able to volunteer their time to mentor the next generation of Americans."
After the vote, the BSA announced, "While people have different opinions about this policy, we can all agree that kids are better off when they are in Scouting." The new policy will take affect January 2014.
Media Resources: Detroit Free Press 5/23/2013; HRC Blog 5/23/2013; New York Times 5/23/2013; Feminist Newswire 4/23/2013
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. . . .