South African Court Rules in Favor of Same-Sex Marriage
Today, the highest court in South Africa ruled that the parliament must amend marriage laws to include same-sex couples within the next year. If parliament does not act, the laws will be automatically changed to give marriage rights to same-sex couples. In the ruling, Justice Albie Sachs wrote, “The exclusion of same-sex couples from the benefits and responsibilities of marriage… signifies that their capacity for love, commitment and accepting responsibility is by definition less worthy of regard that that of heterosexual couples,” reports Reuters.
Stemming from a case in which a lesbian couple petitioned for legal recognition of their marriage, the Constitutional Court’s decision puts South Africa in line to be the fifth nation, and first African country, to legalize same-sex marriages. According to BBC News, lesbian and gay rights activists have won several other battles in South Africa, including the rights to adopt, and inherit from a partner, because South Africa’s 1996 constitution was the first to explicitly outlaw discrimination on the basis of sexual preference.
Media Resources: BBC News 12/1/05; Reuters 12/1/05
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. . . .