The New York State assembly approved a same-sex marriage bill on Wednesday and is likely to face a vote in the Senate on Friday. Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) introduced the bill where the Assembly voted 80-63 in favor of the marriage equality bill. The bill faces a much closer vote in the Senate, where support from only one more senator is necessary for it to pass. The state Senate had rejected a similar bill in 2009.
The bill, called the Marriage Equality Act, would grant same-sex couples the right to marry "as well as hundreds of rights, benefits and protections that are currently limited to married couples of the opposite sex," according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office. New York does not currently grant same-sex marriages, though a 2008 appellate court upheld the right of same-sex marriages to be recognized if they are performed in other states. A recent Siena poll found that 58% of New Yorkers support same-sex marriage. Assemblyman Charles Lavine, a Democrat who voted in favor of legalizing gay marriage, said "Only second-class states have second-class citizens."
Same-sex marriage licenses are currently granted by five states - Iowa, Connecticut, Vermont, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire - and the District of Columbia, and several other states allow civil unions. The issue is also currently being debated in California and New Jersey.
Media Resources: CNN 6/16/11; Wall Street Journal 6/16/11; Huffington Post 6/15/11
10/30/2014 Medication Abortion Access Threatened by Oklahoma Court Ruling - An Oklahoma state district court judge has refused to block a state law restricting medication abortion, clearing the way for the law to go into affect on November 1.
The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, together with a local abortion clinic in Tulsa, challenged HB 2684 in September, arguing that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on non-surgical abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. . . .
10/30/2014 UPS Switches Pregnant Worker Policy Ahead of Supreme Court Case - The United Parcel Service (UPS) is changing its policy on light duty assignments for pregnant workers, even though the company will stand by its refusal to extend accommodations to a former employee in an upcoming Supreme Court case.
UPS announced on Monday in a memo to employees, and in a brief filed with the US Supreme Court, that the company will begin offering temporary, light-duty positions to pregnant workers on January 1, 2015. . . .
10/30/2014 North Dakota Medical Students Speak Out Against Measure 1 - Medical students at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences are asking North Dakotans to vote no on Measure 1, a personhood measure on the state ballot this fall.
The students issued published a letter in the Grand Forks Herald stating that they opposed Measure 1 in part because they are against "the government's taking control of the personal health care decisions of its citizens." Nearly 60 UND School of Medicine students signed the letter, citing concerns over the "very broad and ambiguous language" used in the proposed amendment, which has no regard for serious and life-threatening medical situations such as ectopic pregnancies.
Measure 1 would change the North Dakota state constitution to create an "inalienable right to life" for humans "at any stage of development" - including the moment of fertilization and conception. . . .