The Vermont Supreme Court rejected claims made by legislators and town clerks that the state’s civil union laws, which grant gay and lesbian couples the most comprehensive package of domestic partner benefits in the nation, were unconstitutional. Among the plaintiff’s arguments was the claim that the law requiring town clerks to issue civil union licenses to gays and lesbians forced them to act against their religious belief that homosexuality is immoral. The Court determined that the town clerks claims were invalid as an assistant could be appointed to distribute the licenses. The Court also admonished the town clerks saying that it was “highly questionable” for a public official to “retain public office while refusing to perform a generally applicable duty of that office on religious grounds.” In 2000, Vermont became the first state in the nation to give civil recognition to gay and lesbian couples. Soon after, the bill faced legal challenges, all of which have failed thus far.
Media Resources: Associated Press, 1/3/02; Feminist Daily News Wire
5/5/2015 Sen. Reid Promises to Filibuster "Fast Track" for the TransPacific Partnership - Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid has promised to delay efforts to push through the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal until the Senate first deals with two stalled bills that may soon expire.
Reid says that the two measures, an infrastructure bill on highway funding, and reforms to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), are "very complicated issues," that require the Senate's attention "before we even deal with [the Trans-Pacific Partnership]."
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a massive free trade agreement currently being promoted by the Obama Administration, has been heavily criticized by humanitarian groups, environmental groups, and medical groups. . . .
5/1/2015 House Reverses DC Law Banning Reproductive Health Discrimination by Employers - The US House of Representatives voted Thursday night to overturn a Washington, DC, law that makes it illegal for employers to retaliate against employees who use their insurance to cover procedures like in-vitro fertilization or abortion and contraception like birth control pills and IUDs for themselves, their spouses, or their children.
The District's council passed the Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Amendment Act last year. . . .