The official repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell (DADT) will go into effect today. For nearly two decades, the policy forced lesbian, gay, and bisexual service people to keep their sexual orientation a secret or face possible expulsion from the military. Pentagon press secretary George Little indicated that the military is prepared for the repeal of DADT with approximately 97 percent of military personnel undergoing training regarding the new law, according to CBS. Events will be held in all 50 states commemorating the repeal of DADT.
Aubrey Sarvis, Executive Director of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), stated, "Today marks the official end of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' and is an historic milestone along the journey to achieving LGBT equality in America's military. Thanks to veterans, active duty, leaders, allies and supporters everywhere, this is a monumental day for our service members and our nation. Indeed, we have taken a tremendous leap forward for LGBT equality in the military."
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. According to Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, more than 14,000 men and women have been discharged in the policy's history.
Media Resources: SLDN Statement 9/20/11; CBS 9/20/11; The Task Force Statement; Feminist Daily Newswire 7/25/11
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. . . .