Many online publications have been calling attention to the huge gains advocates have made towards equality for LGBT people this year. While we must recognize that we still have awhile to go to reach equality for all United States citizens, it is important to also celebrate our victories. Below we have compiled a list of some of our favorite stories. Please add your own favorite LGBT victory from 2011 in comments.
WLP staffers have noticed many recent news stories covering the fight for marriage equality in the US and around the globe. Due to the volume of news on this topic, it is impossible for us to write a blog post on all newsworthy stories. Instead, a compilation of links to the stories that have piqued our interest this week can be found below.
- A New York State bill proposed by Governor Cuomo, which would legalize same-sex marriage in the state, needs one more vote for passage. To pass, the bill requires support from a Republican in the Senate as all state Democrats, “except the avowedly antigay Ruben Diaz, Sr., plan to vote for the bill.” It is probable that the bill will be voted on this week.
- The French parliament rejected legislation which would legalize same-sex marriage in the country. This move represents the “opposition to gay marriage among President Nicolas Sarkozy’s governing conservatives and the strain of traditional values that runs through many parts of France” rather than the opinion of the majority of French citizens. A recent poll discovered that 58% of respondents are in favor of gay marriage in the country.
- A California bankruptcy court declared that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) which barred federal recognition of same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. Judge Thomas B. Donovan of the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California said, “‘in this court’s judgment, no legally married couple should be entitled to fewer bankruptcy rights than any other legally married couple.’”
- A recent study by the Public Religion Research Institute reveals Millennials’ (18-29 year olds) views on same-sex marriage and abortion. The study found that Millennials are “much more likely” than the rest of the population to support same-sex marriage. While Millennials are not as dramatically in favor of abortion access as they are marriage equality, a majority (68%) of respondents identified themselves as “pro-choice.”
- A Texas judge ruled that Nikki Araguz, a trans woman, is not entitled to death benefits following her late husband’s death, reasoning that she was “‘born male’ even though she has undergone gender affirmation surgery. “Araguz plans to appeal the decision.
- After Judge Vaughn Walker in California declared the Proposition 8 ban on same-sex marriage in California unconstitutional, lawyers for those that support the ban argued that Judge Walker should have removed himself from the case as he is in a long-term relationship with another man. On Tuesday a federal judge ruled that as “there was no evidence that Judge Vaughn Walker intended to marry his longtime partner, thus he had no obligation to disclose his relationship.” Judge Walker’s ruling that declared Proposition 8 unconstitutional was upheld.
Have we missed something? Please share more news related to the fight for marriage equality in comments.
Title IX, a law which requires gender equity for boys and girls in every educational program that receives federal funding passed 39 years ago. However its promise has not been completely fulfilled, even four decades later. Here are some of the stories we have been reading recently which got us thinking about how far we have come in achieving equality in education and how far we still have to go.
- Parents of competitive cheerleaders at Lugoff-Elgin High School in Camden, South Carolina, are requesting a formal investigation of Title IX compliance after they say school administrators refused to pay for new uniforms.
- Some universities (including Duke, Wake Forest, and Appalachian State) listed men who assist in practices of women’s teams as members of the teams in a federal study. It is probably not the case that any of these schools did this to better fulfill Title IX requirements since, according to the article, “counting the men as part of the women’s team didn’t significantly change any of the three schools’ Title IX numbers.” However, Nancy Hogshead-Makar, a law professor at Florida Coastal and the senior director of advocacy at the Women’s Sports Foundation says that another school may use this loophole to give “‘the appearance of an untrained eye that the school would not have to add another women’s team (to be in compliance) with Title IX.’”
- Kristine Newhall addresses critiques of Title IX which argue that it creates reverse discrimination: “It seems difficult to argue that Title IX is creating reverse discrimination when men have always had and continue to have more opportunities.”
- The University of Montana, “in danger of falling out of compliance with Title IX,” started a softball program.
- Sue Estler, an Associate Professor Emirita of higher education at the University of Maine who served 11 years as the Director of Equal Opportunity and Title Coordinator reflects on the history of Title IX and the continuing struggle to ensure that schools are in compliance with it.
- A federal appeals court will hear a case alleging that Indiana schools discriminated against girls’ basketball teams by scheduling girls’ games for weeknights and boys’ games for Friday and Saturday nights.
To find out about the Women’s Law Project’s Title IX-related advocacy, click here. Image via.
There has been an overwhelming amount of news out there concerning women’s health recently, so much that it is impossible to write an individual blog post on all the stories WLP staff come across. Below you will find a list of some of the stories we have been reading recently, representing both headlines we found disheartening and those that made us hopeful.
- The New Hampshire Senate passed a parental notification law “requiring [that] at least one parent of a minor seeking an abortion receives written notification at least 48 hours prior to the procedure.” The bill would require notification even in circumstances in which “‘notice to the parent or guardian may lead to physical or emotional abuse of the minor.’” It is now up to Governor Lynch whether or not the bill becomes law.
- A bill introduced by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), if passed, would treat and prevent obstetric fistulas around the world. Obstetric fistulas are a devastating injury which occurs during childbirth, primarily to women and girls in developing nations.
- According to a report by the United Kingdom Department of Health, thousands of Irish women travel from their home country where abortion is not legal to Great Britain in order to obtain the procedure legally.
- Vermont Governor Shumlin signed into law a bill “requiring that any health insurance and health benefit plans that provide maternity benefits (including Medicaid and public health care assistance plans) must provide coverage for midwifery services in hospitals, other health care facilities, and at home.” The bill also allows transgendered individuals to change the gender on their birth certificate from the one they were assigned at birth.
- A bill banning telemedicine to administer abortion services has passed the Nebraska Senate and is expected to be signed into law by Governor Heineman. This would ban Planned Parenthood from using telemedicine in Nebraska the way it has in Iowa. We have posted before about how Planned Parenthood’s utilization of technology to provide healthcare has given necessary services to women in underserved rural areas.
- Representative Susan Davis (D-CA) “introduced an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would have allowed military health care plans to cover abortion services for service women who had been raped.” Currently, servicewomen’s health plans do not cover abortion even in the case of rape. “The House Rules Committee, however, did not permit the amendment to be brought to the House floor for debate.”
- The New Jersey Senate passed a bill that would restore funding to family planning clinics after Governor Christie cut all family planning from the state’s budget last year. Christie said he would “consider the bill as part of a larger budget deal.”
- The Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit “against a new South Dakota law requiring that women undergo a 72 hour waiting period and mandatory counseling from a crisis pregnancy center (CPC) before obtaining an abortion.”
- The US Senate voted against a budget plan which would have turned Medicare “into a voucher program to buy private insurance as if any company would sell such a policy to an elderly person who is ill.”
- The Obama administration prohibited Indiana’s law which forbids “state agencies from entering contracts with or making grants to ‘any entity that performs abortions or maintains or operates a facility where abortions are performed.’”
- House leaders shelved H.R. 1745 which would have taken away emergency unemployment insurance from jobless women and men.
- The book Home/Birth: A Poemic extols the benefits of home birth and stresses the importance of “overturn[ing] restrictions which have limited the scope of midwifery and ‘normalized’ medical intervention.”
Let us know about other women’s health news or your thoughts on any or all of these stories in comments.
- The Catholic Church treats the ordination of women as a crime on par with sexual abuse.
- The Swedish Feminist Initiative Party burned $13,000 to protest the gender wage gap
- The New York Times discusses the marginalization of doctors who decide to provide abortions
- More businesses are catering to the same-sex marriage market
- In Guyland, author Michael Kimmel argues “the pressure on young men to prove their masculinity has never been greater, and… that for those young men, as for all of us, the problems they face have a solution: feminism.”
- Alternet lists 10 things that feminists could do better
- The anniversary of the enactment of Title IX was June 23rd
- Doctors debate how to screen for a particularly deadly form of breast cancer
- According to a Department of Justice report published in February, “roughly one in five women who attend college will become the victim of a rape or an attempted rape by the time she graduates.”
- The Texas GOP platform would make it a felony to perform same-sex marriages and would ban anal and oral sex
- Ms. Magazine blog wonders why “fewer than one percent of women in North America (and northwestern Europe) use the diaphragm”
- Forty-nine percent of pregnancies in the U.S. are unintended
- Women in the U.S. still die during childbirth. African-American and immigrant women are disproportionally affected.
- Womensenews.org contemplates why women are leaving the growing technology field
- *Pittsburgh Area News* Penelope Bauer, 13, of Bloomfield won the girls’ national championship at the 87th National Marbles Tournament in Wildwood, N.J.
- Jezebel argues for “why shameless objectification can be a good thing.”
Welcome to a new feature on the WLP blog, where we share links to articles we’re reading with you. Feel free to add your own in comments!