President Obama announced that the US ban on gays serving openly in the military will be lifted on September 20, bringing the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy to an end. The President met with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen to certify that the armed forces are ready for the change.
Don't Ask Don't Tell forces gay and bisexual service people to keep their sexual orientation a secret or face possible expulsion from the military. More than 14,000 men and women have been discharged in the policy's 17-year history, according to the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network.
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi applauded the move. "When the repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' is complete, we will send a clear message to every American: anyone with the courage to wear our nation's uniform will be judged not by whom they love, but by their skill, ability, and love of country," said Pelosi in a written statement.
DADT was instituted by former President Bill Clinton in 1993 and prohibits the military from inquiring about a service member's sexual orientation, and also calls for the discharge of anyone who acknowledges being lesbian or gay. Thus far, the policy has led to the expulsion of more than 13,000 troops.
Media Resources: Reuters, 7/22/2011; The State Column, 7/24/2011; Servicemembers Legal Defense Network 7/23/11; Feminist Daily Newswire 11/8/10
10/31/2014 Federal Judge Exempts Another Catholic University from Birth Control Coverage - A federal judge ruled Tuesday that Ave Maria University, a Catholic university in Florida, does not have to comply with federal rules meant to ensure that covered employees can exercise their right to obtain birth control at no cost.
The Affordable Care Act requires all new health insurance plans to cover all FDA-approved contraceptives - such as the pill, emergency contraceptives, and IUDs - without charging co-pays, deductibles or co-insurance. . . .
10/31/2014 Women of Color in Tennessee Are United in Opposition to Amendment 1 - Just days before the general election in Tennessee, a coalition of community leaders, clergy, and advocates led a press conference encouraging women of color to vote no on Amendment 1, a dangerous and far-reaching measure on the state's ballot.
SisterReach, a grassroots organization focused on "empowering, organizing, and mobilizing women and girls in the community around their reproductive and sexual health to make informed decisions about themselves," organized the press conference "to call attention to the unique concerns Black and poor communities throughout Shelby County and across the state of Tennessee face on a daily basis" and to emphasize how the upcoming election "could further limit [black women's] reproductive, economic, political, and social autonomy."
"We assemble today to impress upon black women and women of color, many of whom are heads of households, to get out and vote," said SisterReacher Founder and CEO Cherisse Scott at the event.
SisterReach has been educating voters about the particularly dangerous impact of Amendment 1 on women of color. . . .
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. . . .