Supreme Court Decision Heralded as Major Victory for Gay Rights
The Supreme Court's Monday 6-3 decision to strike down a Colorado anti-lesbian and gay rights constitutional amendment will have far-reaching effects on the future of the lesbian and gay rights movement. The court ruled that lesbians and gay men cannot be denied government benefits and protections because of their sexual orientation. All concurring judges signed the majority opinion written by Justice Anthony M. Kennedy who referred to the Justice John Harlan's dissent against upholding separate but equal accommodations for blacks and whites in the 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson case. Kennedy's brief but strongly-written statement said that public "animus" toward homosexuals does not legitimate discrimination. The extent to which the ruling will affect lawsuits over same-sex marriage, lesbians and gay men in the military, and employment discrimination remains to be seen. Kennedy wrote that the protections which Amendment 2 sought to withhold were basic protections taken for granted by most people, far from the label of "special" used by proponents of the measure. That this decision was reached by a conservative court adds to the weight of its importance. Dissenting were Chief Justice William Rehnquist, Justice Antonin Scalia, and Justice Clarence Thomas.
Media Resources: The Washington Post - May 22, 1996
10/30/2014 Medication Abortion Access Threatened by Oklahoma Court Ruling - An Oklahoma state district court judge has refused to block a state law restricting medication abortion, clearing the way for the law to go into affect on November 1.
The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, together with a local abortion clinic in Tulsa, challenged HB 2684 in September, arguing that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on non-surgical abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. . . .
10/30/2014 UPS Switches Pregnant Worker Policy Ahead of Supreme Court Case - The United Parcel Service (UPS) is changing its policy on light duty assignments for pregnant workers, even though the company will stand by its refusal to extend accommodations to a former employee in an upcoming Supreme Court case.
UPS announced on Monday in a memo to employees, and in a brief filed with the US Supreme Court, that the company will begin offering temporary, light-duty positions to pregnant workers on January 1, 2015. . . .
10/30/2014 North Dakota Medical Students Speak Out Against Measure 1 - Medical students at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences are asking North Dakotans to vote no on Measure 1, a personhood measure on the state ballot this fall.
The students issued published a letter in the Grand Forks Herald stating that they opposed Measure 1 in part because they are against "the government's taking control of the personal health care decisions of its citizens." Nearly 60 UND School of Medicine students signed the letter, citing concerns over the "very broad and ambiguous language" used in the proposed amendment, which has no regard for serious and life-threatening medical situations such as ectopic pregnancies.
Measure 1 would change the North Dakota state constitution to create an "inalienable right to life" for humans "at any stage of development" - including the moment of fertilization and conception. . . .