California Makes History by Banning "Reparative" Therapy for LGBT Youth
On Saturday California Governor Jerry Brown signed the historic SB 1172, a bill banning so-called "reparative" therapies for LGBT youth, the first bill of its kind to be signed into law in the United States. The bill was authored by State Senator Ted W. Lieu (D) and co-sponsored by the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Equality California, Gaylesta, Courage Campaign, Lambda Legal, and Mental Health America of Northern California with the support of dozens of other organizations. The law bans therapies intended to change the sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression of minors, and will take effect on January 1, 2013.
"This bill bans nonscientific 'therapies' that have driven young people to depression and suicide," Governor Brown said in a statement. "These practices have no basis in science or medicine, and they will now be relegated to the dustbin of quackery."
"Governor Brown has sent a powerful message of affirmation and support to LGBT youth and their families," NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell said. "This law will ensure that state-licensed therapists can no longer abuse their power to harm LGBT youth and propagate the dangerous and deadly lie that sexual orientation is an illness or disorder that can be 'cured.'"
In addition to SB 1172, Gov. Brown also signed two other LGBT rights bills into law. He signed SB 2356, which ensures equal access to fertility services; and AB 1856, which requires all individuals seeking to become foster parents to have "instruction on cultural competency and sensitivity relating to, and best practices for, providing adequate care" for LGBT youth. Brown also vetoed SB 1476, which would have created a legal structure for acknowledging additional parents that may be part of a child's life because of same-sex relationships, surrogacy, adoption, and remarriages. Brown said he needs more time to consider the implications of this bill.
Media Resources: Huffington Post 9/30/12; AP 10/1/12; New York Times 9/30/12; Think Progress 10/1/12; NCLR Blog 9/29/12
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. . . .