Thousands Attend Same Sex Marriage Bill Hearings in Maine
The Maine state Legislature Judiciary Committee is holding hearings today on two gay rights bills before several thousand people in the Augusta Convention Center. According to the Bangor Daily News, the crowd gave a standing ovation to state Senator Dennis Damon, who sponsored a bill that would legalize same sex marriage in the state.
Damon's bill "repeals the provision that limits marriage to one man and one woman and replaces it with the authorization for marriage between any two persons that meet the other requirements of Maine law" and also recognizes all marriages performed outside the state. The second bill addressed in the hearings would extend the "rights, protections and benefits" of married couples to domestic partnerships in the state.
According to the Associated Press, it is unclear whether Maine Governor John Baldacci would sign the bill if it is passed by the legislature. A recent poll showed 47.3 percent of Maine residents support the same sex marriage bill and that 49.5 percent oppose the legislation, reported the Associated Press.
If the legislation is approved, Maine would be the fifth state to permit same sex marriage in the United States after Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, and Vermont. Legislation was also introduced last week in New York by Governor David Paterson that would legalize same sex marriage.
7/27/2015 Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Blocked Efforts to Defund Planned Parenthood - An attempt in the Senate to defund Planned Parenthood by Mike Lee (R-UT) was blocked this weekend by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). Lee tried to attach the elimination of federal funds for Planned Parenthood to a vote for highway legislation, a move which was rejected by McConnell as out of order.
Republican legislators have redoubled their efforts to block funding for Planned Parenthood since the release of two heavily edited clandestine videos of different PPFA employees taken without their knowledge. . . .
7/24/2015 Katherine Spillar Urges Cleveland to Dramatically Increase Hiring of Women Police to Mitigate Police Violence - In a well-received speech at the City Club of Cleveland today, Katherine Spillar, Executive Director of the Feminist Majority Foundation urged Cleveland city officials to dramatically increase the hiring of women police officers as a way to decrease police brutality incidents.
Following a number of high profile police killings in Cleveland of African Americans, and an eight-month investigation by the US Attorney's office of the Northern District of Ohio, the City of Cleveland has now entered into a Consent Decree that requires numerous reforms in how the city oversees and investigates police operations, including training in use of force.
"Among the most important reforms mandated by the consent decree - and the most easily overlooked - are the changes the Cleveland Division of Police must make in its recruitment and hiring practices,
said Spillar. . . .