Same-Sex Marriage Ban Limits Women's Protection Against Domestic Violence
Ohio's 2004 constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage makes a previous domestic violence statute unconstitutional under the amendment's provisions, an Ohio appellate court ruled recently. The same-sex marriage amendment declares that the state cannot confer legal status on relationships of unmarried individuals. In late May, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Logan County struck down a domestic violence statue in Ohio because it created a relationship between unmarried individuals living together for the purposes of prosecuting domestic violence offenders.
Without the protection of the statute, the punishment for domestic violence is lowered from a felony to a misdemeanor. This change leaves unmarried women increasingly vulnerable to physical abuse from their partners. A majority of victims of domestic violence are unmarried, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
The ruling comes as a result of a domestic violence case from 2004. Ohio resident Dallas McKinley was charged with assaulting his live-in girlfriend and convicted on felony charges under the criminal domestic violence statute. His conviction was overturned with the appeals court ruling. Assistant Logan County Prosecutor Eric Stewart said the new ruling will be appealed to the Ohio Supreme Court within the next 30 days, according to the Lima News.
Media Resources: The Lima News 5/24/06; National Coalition Against Domestic Violence; Third District Court of Appeals ruling 5/22/06
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. . . .