Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Celebrates 20th Anniversary
Residents of Sydney, Australia attended the annual Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras this week. This year marked the festival’s 20th anniversary. Sydney lawyer and journalist David Marr said, “behind the frivolity of the parade, the message is that there is unfinished business. In its outrageous, flamboyant way Mardi Gras is a reminder that the campaign for fairness and good sense goes on.”
Local politicians support the festivities, acknowledging the “pink dollar” that adds around $20 million to Sydney’s economy, and praised the parade for its reflection of “tolerance and diversity.”
The annual event began in 1978, when homosexuality was illegal and those convicted faced up to 14 years in prison. Sydney gay men held a street demonstration and coming-out party, protesting the law. Homosexuality was decriminalized in Australia in 1984.
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. . . .