The New Jersey State Senate voted 20 to 14 against a bill that would have legalized same sex marriage in the state yesterday. The state Judiciary Committee voted 7 to 6 in favor of the bill this past December.
Marriage equality activists vowed to continue the fight in New Jersey immediately after yesterday's vote. Director of LAMDA Legal, Leslie Gabel-Brett, told WNYC that "the promise of the unanimous decision in Lewis V. Harris remains unfulfilled. Same sex couples and their families can not wait any longer. We are going back to court." Lewis v. Harris is a 2006 New Jersey State Supreme Court ruling on the rights of same sex couple to equal protection.
The New Jersey State Civil Union Review Commission found in 2008 that the state's civil union law does not provide the same protections to gay couples as marriage does to heterosexual couples. The commission found that "the separate categorization established by the Civil Union Act invites and encourages unequal treatment of same-sex couples and their children."
Washington, DC, approved same sex marriage legislation in December 2009 and is waiting for a mandatory 30 day congressional review period to expire before the legislation becomes law. Currently, same sex marriage is legal in Connecticut, Iowa, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Vermont.
Media Resources: Feminist Daily Newswire 12/12/08, 12/15/09; WNYC 1/8/09
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. . . .