New Mexico Supreme Court Hears Arguments on Marriage Equality
The New Mexico Supreme Court will hear oral arguments today about whether state law permits same-sex couples to marry in the state.
Currently, the state's law is silent on the issue. As a result, some counties in the state have allowed same-sex couples to marry, while others have refused. To date, same-sex couples have married in eight of the state's 33 counties, and at least two judges have upheld marriage equality under the state constitution. Over 900 marriage licenses have been issued across the state, but some Republican lawmakers have voiced opposition.
A group of same-sex couples represented by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the ACLU of New Mexico, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, and several local attorneys sued in March after initially being denied marriage licenses. A New Mexico judge ruled in favor of the couples in September. Thereafter, the New Mexico Association of Counties, joined by every county clerk, requested that the New Mexico Supreme Court immediately review the decision in order to settle several open cases around the state.
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. . . .