Two high school girls at River Hills High School in Clarkesville, MD were suspended on November 5 for a kiss they claimed was an act of protest against discrimination faced by homosexual students. After climbing on top of lunch tables, Katherine Pecore and Stephanie Haaser shouted "End Homophobia Now!" and proceeded to kiss each other for about 10 to 15 seconds, according to the Washington Post.
Haaser explained the act was part of an English assignment that required her to perform a "non-conformist act." The class was studying Transcendentalist authors such as Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. Haaser explained to ABC's Good Morning America, the kiss was a demonstration to draw "attention to gay and lesbian students who are treated poorly by their peers at the school."
Scott Pfeifer, the principal of River Hill High School, said the girls were suspended for being disruptive. "Anyone who would stand up and do a disruptive act, I would treat them the same way," Pfeifer told the Washington Post. The fact that the kiss involved two girls was "totally meaningless to me." According to the Post, the school acknowledges insensitivity towards homophobic students and plans on investigating claims of homophobia.
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. . . .