Last week 41 years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its landmark decision affirming a woman’s right to an abortion, a momentous leap forward for women’s health.
As Ms Magazine observes, “Despite this hard-won victory, Roe v. Wade is under constant attack, with anti-choice activists chipping away reproductive freedoms at the state level.
“States have passed more laws restricting abortion in the past three years than in all of the 2000s. Every state except Oregon has at least one abortion restriction on the books, and there’s a push to ban abortions earlier and earlier in pregnancy, with North Dakota even attempting to enact a six-week ban.
“With the state-level backlash against reproductive rights, it’s important to recommit ourselves to protecting the health and rights of women. The Roe decision may be decades past, but this fundamental right is in danger of being legislated away.
“In its annual State of Reproductive Health and Rights report card, the Population Institute gave the United States an inexcusable C- on reproductive rights, citing our high rate of unintended pregnancies (50 percent of pregnancies in the U.S. are unplanned) and the states’ assault on abortion providers. In its conclusion, it applauded the Affordable Care Act for expanding coverage for reproductive health, but says this was undercut by politically motivated attacks on abortion access. Continue reading “Choice at 41”
The Supreme Court has agreed to revisit the issue of church-state separation and decide whether a town council can begin most of its monthly meetings with a prayer from a Christian pastor,, reports the Los Angeles Times
“Thirty years ago, the court upheld a state legislature’s practice of beginning its session with a nondenominational prayer. The justices said that “to invoke divine guidance on a public body entrusted with making laws” did not violate the 1st Amendment’s prohibition on an “establishment of religion.”
“But since then, several lower courts have said that a city council or county board may violate the 1st Amendment if its opening prayers favor one religion.
“Last year, the U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the town of Greece, N.Y., near Rochester, had crossed the line by inviting Christian pastors to deliver nearly every opening prayer. Though the town’s policy does not favor one religion, the appeals court said its practice had been to favor Christianity to the exclusion of other faiths.
“In practice, Christian clergy members have delivered nearly all of the prayers relevant to this litigation and have done so at the town’s invitation,” the appeals court said. Continue reading “Supreme Court to examine church-state”
Rachel Maddow ended her Friday show by celebrating what she called an historic week in the gay rights movement in America.
In a poetic monologue that seemed at times to leave her slightly choked up, Maddow compared the effect of the work done by pioneers in the fight for LGBT equality–from now-dead activists of the 1970s to Thea Spyer, the late wife of Edie Windsor, whoselawsuit against the Defense of Marriage Act was heard by the Supreme Court this week–to the light that reaches the night sky from stars that have actually been gone for years, reports Huffington Post today.
“There are all sorts of people and all sorts of fights that technically are not still around,” she said. “But they live, and we can see them. We can see their light in some of the biggest-deal and most difficult things that we do today. Continue reading “Racing the light with Rachel”
Ellen DeGeneres weighed in on Prop 8, California’s voter-approved ban on same-sex message, penning a tongue-in-cheek “Supreme Court brief” on her blog, reports Huffington Post.
“The award-winning talk show host and comedian followed in the footsteps of Clint Eastwood, who joined more than 100 established conservatives in signing a legitimate Supreme Court-bound brief in favor of allowing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) couples the right to legally wed in California.
“Though DeGeneres’ entertaining piece won’t carry the same legal weight as Eastwood’s brief potentially could, it’s nonetheless poignant. She writes:
“Portia and I have been married for 4 years and they have been the happiest of my life. And in those 4 years, I don’t think we hurt anyone else’s marriage. I asked all of my neighbors and they say they’re fine.But even though Portia and I got married in the short period of time when it was legal in California, there are 1,138 federal rights for married couples that we don’t have, including some that protect married people from losing their homes, or their savings or custody of their children.”
Describing her much-publicized coming out as “one of the hardest things I ever did,” DeGeneres continues, “I hope the Supreme Court will do the right thing, and let everyone enjoy the same rights. It’s going to help keep families together. It’s going to make kids feel better about who they are. And it is time.”
Full story: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/01/ellen-degeneres-supreme-court-brief-prop-8_n_2789195.html?utm_hp_ref=mostpopular
Today two legendary figures wrote to the Supreme Court in opposition to California’s ban on gay marriage: Clint Eastwood and Barack Obama. The famous gunslinger (who famously admonished an imaginary Obama in a chair at the Republican Convention) and the president chose the same day to ratchet up their support for marriage equality. Huffington Post, covered Eastwood’s announcement this way:
“Hollywood legend Clint Eastwood has taken his well-publicized support of same-sex marriage one step further, calling upon the U.S. Supreme Court to drop Prop 8. As Breitbart’s Mike Flynn reports, the Oscar-winning actor and director joined more than 100 Republicans in signing a Supreme Court-bound brief in favor of allowing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) couples the right to legally wed in California.
“Flynn describes Eastwood as a “long-time Republican with strong libertarian leanings,” and says that signing the Supreme Court briefs implies that he “is going to stay active in the political landscape.” One of Eastwood’s representatives and a spokesman for the American Foundation for Equal Rights, the group spearheading opposition to California’s law banning same-sex marriage, confirmed the news to NBC. Former Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman and GOP strategist Steve Schmidt are among the other high-profile names to sign the brief, CBS News reports.
“The 82-year-old Eastwood discussed his generally pro-same-sex marriage stance in a September 2012 appearance on Ellen DeGeneres’ talk show. “The condition of society right now, with the high unemployment rates and the tremendous debt we’re increasing and the government spending, we’d think there’d be [many more worthy issues] to think about [rather] that worrying about gay marriage,” he told DeGeneres.In 2011, Eastwood similarly told GQ magazine, “I don’t give a f**k about who wants to get married to anybody else! Why not?! We’re making a big deal out of things we shouldn’t be making a deal out of … Just give everybody the chance to have the life they want.”
More at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/28/clint-eastwood-prop-8-gay-marriage-_n_2783489.html?utm_hp_ref=gay-voices
“Right to work” laws argue that they insure workers the “freedom” to sell their labor, without interference from meddling entities like, for instance, labor unions.
This week, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder signed such a law. As Slate, further explains, conservatives “have been pressing for so-called “right to work” laws across the Midwest. Major labor groups almost uniformly oppose these bills, so why do we call them “right to work” laws?
Because they allow you to work through a strike. Commentator and lexicographer William Safire chronicled the origins of the phrase “right to work” in his Political Dictionary. A 1912 Bernard Partridge cartoon depicted an employer telling a striking worker, “I can’t make you Continue reading “Why “right to work” means anti-union”
Speaking at Princeton University, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was asked why he equates laws banning sodomy with those barring bestiality and murder. The question comes as the court prepares to consider America’s contested Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), defining marriage as an exclusively heterosexual compact. As reported in HuffPost Gay Voices,
“’I don’t think it’s necessary, but I think it’s effective,’ Scalia said, adding that legislative bodies can ban what they believe to be immoral. Scalia has been giving speeches around the
country to promote his new book, “Reading Law,” and his lecture at Princeton comes just days after the court agreed to take on two cases that challenge DOMA. Continue reading “Scalia’s disturbing views on marriage”