Lesbian Couple are First Same-Sex Couple to Marry in Portugal
The first same-sex marriage was performed in Portugal yesterday after the country legalized gay marriage in May. Language altering the country's constitution to allow for same-sex marriage went into effect yesterday, reported On Top Magazine. The couple, Teresa Pires and Helena Paixao, have been together since 2003 and played a strong role in campaigning for the legalization of same-sex marriage in the predominantly Catholic country. Pires and Paixao were married during a 15-minute-service in Lisbon, Portugal. They are both divorced Portugese mothers in their 30's.
The bill that legalized same-sex marriage was passed by Portugal's Parliament in January and reluctantly ratified by President Anibal Cavaco Silva in May, as he felt that a veto would have been overturned by liberal lawmakers in the country's Parliament, reported the Associated Press. The conservative party previously sought a national referendum after collecting 90,000 signatures opposing the bill, but the referendum petition was rejected, reported the BBC. Under the new law, same-sex couples are still not allowed to legally adopt children.
The bill makes Portugal the sixth country in Europe to allow same-sex marriage, after Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and Norway. Many other nations allow same-sex civil unions.
According to the Associated Press, Portugal's socialist government passed the law as part of its effort to modernize Portugal, where homosexuality had been illegal until 1982. The law has faced intense church opposition, although the New York Times reported that "Portuguese society appears to be largely supportive."
Media Resources: Feminist Daily Newswire 2/12/10; BBC News 1/8/10; Associated Press 6/7/10; New York Times 5/13/10; BBC News 6/7/10; MSNBC 1/8/10; On Top Magazine 5/31/10
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. . . .