Augusta Officials Again Block New Laws Restricting Protest
For the second time, officials in Augusta, Georgia, failed to pass laws restricting demonstrations in the city in anticipation of protests of the all-male membership policy of Augusta National Golf Club at the Masters. The city commissioners, who are all men, deadlocked along racial lines, with white commissioners voting to restrict protest and black commissions voting against these restrictions, according to Golf Today. Augusta National expects protests in April during the Masters from the National Council of Women’s Organizations, under the leadership of Martha Burk, as well the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition and Rev. Jesse Jackson.
The proposed changes include requiring demonstrators to apply for a protest permit 20 days in advance; in addition, the new law protects the city from lawsuits that may be filed on behalf of protesters, according to Augusta Chronicle. Commissioner Willie Mays, who is African-American, told Polygon that “if [the existing protest law] was good enough for the Ku Klux Klan to march down the main streets of Augusta on a bright, Sunday afternoon … it’s good enough for people who want to hold peaceful, nonviolent protests.”
A recent survey by the Chicago Tribune finds that women, African-Americans, and younger people are more likely to disapprove of Augusta National’s male-only membership policy, with 52 percent of women against the policy compared with 50 percent of men who approve of the policy. “The gender gap is interesting,” Burk told the Tribune. “It says the people in power don’t see anything wrong with the status quo … Men look at it in the narrowest sense. To them, it only involves a golf club. Women see it as discrimination.” The most striking disparity is with African-Americans—78 percent disapprove of the male-only policy.
Some women executives and business experts have argued that relationships formed through golf can lead to career advancement and success in business—women who are excluded from male-only clubs such as the prestigious Augusta National are at a disadvantage. “Just look at the small number of CEO women,” Judith Rogala, a business executive, told the Tribune. “Golf is a microcosm of our society. Sometimes you feel like you don’t belong.” Maureen Grzelakowski, a top executive at Motorola, Dell, and AT&T, said, “The corporate leaders who put equality of women ahead of their golf agenda will really make a difference,” according to the Tribune.
Media Resources: Chicago Tribune 2/2/03, 2/3/03; Polygon 2/3/03; Augusta Chronicle 2/4/03; Golf Today 2/4/03
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. . . .