Under New Guidelines, Lesbians and Gays May Be Denied Government Jobs
Revised security clearance guidelines approved by President Bush may create obstacles for lesbians and gay men seeking security-related government jobs. The new guidelines, approved in 2005 but reported by the press just last week, revise Clinton-approved 1997 guidelines to make it easier for the government to reject applicants based on their sexuality. While the 1997 guidelines did not allow sexual orientation to be used as a “disqualifying factor,” the new version states that candidates cannot be rejected “solely on the basis of the sexual orientation of the individual” (emphasis added).
The 1997 guidelines also did not allow candidates to be disqualified on the basis of sexual behavior if “there is no other evidence of questionable judgment, irresponsibility, or emotional instability,” or if it is “not recent.” The new version drops that language, instead only excusing “disqualifying” sexual behavior if it is “strictly private, consensual, and discreet” or “happened so long ago, so infrequently, and under such unusual circumstances that it is unlikely to recur.” The president approved the new guidelines, written by national security advisor Stephen Hadley, at the end of 2005, but there was no public notice accompanying their release.
Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), an advocacy group for gays in the military, vowed to monitor implementation of the changes and “combat any assertion that sexual orientation should be a bar to security clearance approval.” SLDN spokesperson Steve Ralls told the Associated Press, "It looks as if lesbian and gay service members especially may face some additional roadblocks to obtaining their security clearances.”
Media Resources: AP 3/17 ; Servicemembers Legal Defense Network press release 3/16; Adjudicative Eligibility for Access to Classified Information 1997; Adjudicative Eligibility for Access to Classified Information 2005
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. . . .