Obama Supports Same-Sex Marriages; N.C. Bans Them

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Cheers

President Barack Obama, who for the past few years has been “evolving” on the issue of same-sex marriage, announced that he now supports same-sex marriage in an interview, reported ABC News May 9. He is the first sitting president to ever state his support. In the interview he said, “I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married.” Read more: Same-Sex Marriage Gets Tweets, Likes by Thousands

More News to Cheer This Week:

  • Adults who want sex-change surgery or hormone therapy in Argentina will be able to get it as part of their public or private health care plans under a new gender rights law, reported The Associated Press May 9.
  • The New York City health department began a campaign to encourage hospitals to stop handing out free formula, as a way of encouraging more mothers to breastfeed, reported The New York Times May 9. Read more: Infant-Formula Companies Milk U.S. Food Program
  • In a departure from most Republican House members, Rep. Bob Dold, R-Ill., introduced the pro-choice Protecting Women’s Access to Health Care Act, or H.R. 5650, on May 8, reported the Huffington Post.
  • The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations called on women in Libya to take a step to ensure their voice is heard by registering to vote, UPI reported May 9.
  • The number of minority and female applicants who took the firefighter exam this spring was roughly double the number who took it in 2007, The New York Times reported May 8.
  • Women’s rights groups applauded a bill introduced to the House of Representatives to help pregnant women keep their jobs and enjoy more comfortable conditions, The Politicker reported May 8.
  • Melinda Gates announced that contraception will be the primary goal of her foundation, with plans to revolutionize it globally, reported Newsweek, published May 7.
  • Since December 2011, black women have knocked more than 3 percentage points off of their unemployment rate, going down from 13.9 percent to 10.8 percent, The Grio reported May 7, citing data from the Labor Department.
  • Egyptian women will call on the country’s newly elected president to appoint a woman to the post of vice president, according to an Egyptian daily, Al Arabiya reported May 8.
  • This year’s Fortune 500 has made history with 18 firms run by female CEOs, up from 12 companies in 2011, The Huffington Post reported May 7.

Jeers

North Carolina voters passed an amendment to the state constitution stating that the only domestic legal union that can be recognized is a marriage between a man and a woman, reported the Associated Press May 8. The amendment passed with about 61 percent voting in favor. The Coalition to Protect NC Families, which opposed the amendment, argued that it not only hurts same-sex couples and families but also unmarried heterosexual couples and their families, since North Carolina will no longer recognize civil unions and domestic partnerships. The amendment threatens not only issues of hospital visitation for unmarried couples, but insurance and even protections for unmarried victims of domestic violence.

More News to Jeer This Week:

  • Egyptian troops and prison authorities have been accused of sexually assaulting women during the latest crackdown on demonstrations, The Washington Post reported May 9.
  • The Alabama House has given final passage to a bill that will allow the state to opt out from providing insurance coverage for abortions under the new federal health care program, The Associated Press reported May 9.
  • Utah has become the first state to enact a 72-hour waiting period for women seeking an abortion, which is the longest waiting period in the country, The Christian Post reported May 9.
  • A reporter for the Houston Chronicle was fired for her past work as a stripper, reported CNN May 10.
  • An institute in Missouri that aims to increase the number of women in politics in the state is under threat in the state budget, reported the St. Louis Post-Dispatch May 9.
  • In a survey of more than 1,000 obstetricians/gynecologists who work in religiously-affiliated hospitals, more than one-third reported that they’ve had a conflict regarding religion-based policy and patient care, NPR reported May 8.
  • Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson, a recurring Fox News guest, said in a sermon posted on YouTube in March that America’s greatest mistake was allowing women the right to vote, The Raw Story reported May 7.
  • The House of Representatives’ version of the Violence Against Women Act includes a smaller budget authorization and no specific protections for LGBT individuals, reported the Associated Press May 8.

Noted:

  • Nancy Keenan will step down as head of the abortion-rights advocacy group NARAL Pro-Choice America at the end of the year, a change she said was timed to coincide with the rise of a new generation of voters, reported Reuters May 10.
  • The cover of Time magazine, which features a mother breastfeeding her 3-year-old son, is drawing criticism and sparking controversy, reported Yahoo May 10.
  • -The vast majority of women seeking abortions are “highly confident” about their choice, a study published in Perspectives on Reproductive and Sexual Health found.
  • Argentina ranked first in the 2012 Social Institutions and Gender Index, a project by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which measures gender outcomes in developing countries or countries which have undergone rapid development in recent years. Mali ranked last.
  • U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said she has no desire to make another run for the White House but hopes to see an American female president in her lifetime, CBS News reported May 7.
  • Routine screening of female patients for domestic violence could reduce cases of abuse and injuries, a study found, U.S News and World Report reported May 8. It also found that general screening for domestic violence did not appear to harm women.
  • An FDA advisory panel has recommended that a drug given to HIV-positive individuals be marketed as a preventive medication, although its effectiveness in women is still unclear, reported the Washington Post May 10.
  • Women have consistently been more likely than men to say they approve of President Barack Obama’s job performance since he took office, according to Gallup poll released May 9.
  • The Republican war on women is a “myth,” said Republican Michele Bachmann on “Face the Nation,” reported CBS May 6.
  • A woman who has refused for 16 years to grant her husband a divorce was put behind bars last week — the first time a woman has been arrested in such a case, The Haaretz reported May 6.

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