UPDATE: Supreme Court Does Not Act on Same Sex Marriage
The Supreme Court has delayed its decision on whether or not it will hear a case on same sex marriage. None of the possible seven cases appeared in the orders list [PDF] released this morning that details which cases the Court will take and the ones they have rejected.
Cases being considered range from the inclusion of same-sex partners on federal and state health insurance policies to Social Security benefits to the basic legal right to marry. The Supreme Court has discussed taking these kinds of cases before, but same sex rights advocates were hopeful that a closed meeting on Friday suggested that the Court may see a case within the next year. For a case to appear before the Supreme Court, four judges must vote in favor of taking the case.
None of the seven cases were rejected by the Court, which means the Court could still choose to take one of the cases at the next closed conference on December 7th. At times the Court has delayed a decision in order to give the issue further consideration, according to Reuters.
LGBTQ rights, abortion rights, and the death penalty have been on the court's radar already this year. In October, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia said: "The death penalty? Give me a break. It's easy. Abortion? Absolutely easy. Nobody ever thought the Constitution prevented restrictions on abortion. Homosexual sodomy? Come on. For 200 years, it was criminal in every state." Later that month, the court refused to hear a case proposed by anti-abortion Personhood Oklahoma that dealt with extreme personhood legislation.
Media Resources: Reuters 12/3/12; U.S. Supreme Court Orders List 12/3/12; CNN 11/30/12; Feminist Newswire 11/27/12
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. . . .