Gays and lesbians in the military face increasing harassment, according to an annual report released by the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network. The report cited 563 “command violations,” during which commanders harassed, pursued and asked members about their sexual orientation in violation of a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy put in place by President Clinton.
Harassment by commanders led to 850 discharges from the military for gay, lesbian and bisexual members in 1996, the highest number in five years. No numbers were released by the Pentagon for 1997, despite repeated requests from the Network.
The report included recommendations for decreasing violations, including stricter limits on investigations into sexual orientation, punishing commanders who violate the limits, and offering recourse to officers who are being investigated. The report concluded, “It is time for military leaders to obey the law.”
Feminist News Stories on Sexual Harassment, Assault and Discrimination in the Military
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. . . .