Argentina’s Senate passed a same-sex marriage law, becoming the first Latin American country to allow gay couples to marry and adopt children, reported the Chicago Tribune July 15. The law was passed following more than 14 hours of charged debate, as hundreds of demonstrators rallied outside the Congress in near-freezing temperatures, the article reported. Senators voted 33-27 for the proposal, with three abstentions.
Same-sex couples in Mexico City won rights to marry and adopt children in December. Uruguay allows same-sex couples to adopt children but not to marry.
More News to Cheer This Week:
- A federal judge blocked a new Nebraska law that required mental health screenings of women seeking abortions, reported the Associated Press July 14. Specifically, under the law women would be screened for risk factors indicating potential mental or physical problems after an abortion. U.S. District Judge Laurie Smith Camp granted Planned Parenthood of the Heartland’s request for a preliminary injunction against the law. The injunction keeps the law from being enforced while the lawsuit is decided. Planned Parenthood has argued the law would be difficult to comply with and could require doctors to give information irrelevant to abortions, the article reported.
- A 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling on July 12 has raised the possibility that Guatemalan women will be able to seek asylum in the United States due to the country’s high rates of femicide, reported CNN July 13. Lesly Yajayra Perdomo, a Guatemalan native, has sought asylum "because she feared persecution as a member of a particular social group consisting of women between the ages of 14 and 40," according to a court document. An immigration judge denied her claim, and the Board of Immigration Appeals upheld the decision. The July 12 ruling remands the case to the Board of Immigration Appeals for further proceedings. Between 2001 and 2006, more than 1,900 Guatemalan women and girls were killed, according to Amnesty International, reported the article.
- The Church of England has decided that women should be allowed to serve as bishops as long as they conform to guidance on interacting with church traditionalists who object to women filling a role formerly reserved for men, reported BBC July 12.
The Vatican made the "attempted ordination" of women one of the gravest crimes under church law, putting it in the same category as clerical sex abuse of minors, heresy and schism, reported The Guardian July 15. Catholic women who agree to a ceremony of ordination and the bishop who conducts it would be excommunicated. This move comes at a time when the Church of England has moved in the opposite direction, to a step closer to the ordination of female bishops, the article reported.
More News to Jeer This Week:
- Hiram Monserrate, who three months ago failed to regain the State Senate seat he had lost after being convicted of misdemeanor domestic assault, is running for a Queens Assembly seat, reported The New York Times July 14. Monserrate filed nominating petitions on July 12 to be placed on the ballot in the Democratic primary in September for the 39th Assembly District seat. The former police officer and city councilman was expelled by the Senate in February after being convicted in October of recklessly injuring his companion and dragging her through his apartment’s lobby. He was sentenced to three years’ probation and ordered to perform 250 hours of community service, participate in a yearlong counseling program and pay a $1,000 fine.
- Missouri abortion clinics will face new mandates to offer women ultrasound images and heartbeats of their fetuses as a result of legislation allowed to become law July 14 by Gov. Jay Nixon, reported the Associated Press. The Democratic governor, facing his first decision on an abortion bill, sidestepped a direct endorsement of the new requirements by citing a Missouri constitutional provision allowing bills to become law without the governor’s signature. A Planned Parenthood official said legal challenges to other states’ laws offering ultrasounds generally have been unsuccessful, and its Missouri clinics are preparing to comply with the law when it takes effect Aug. 28.
- Mel Gibson implied that he is capable of killing ex-girlfriend and mother of his 8-month-old daughter Oksana Grigorieva in the latest audio recording of a bitter argument, reported ABC News July 13. Gibson also accused Grigorieva of using him for his money, said he owns her and berated the former couple’s nanny. In recordings released last week by Radar Online, Gibson used racial slurs and admitted to hitting Grigorieva while she held their child.
- Brazilian police say the missing ex-girlfriend of top soccer player Bruno Fernandes was kidnapped, strangled and then fed to dogs, reported Herald Sun July 10. Eliza Samudio’s remains have not yet been found, but police say her body was cut up and parts were fed to dogs. Police say Fernandes has a reputation for violence and that Samudio formally complained against him in October. Fernandes has denied any wrongdoing and says he has a "clear conscience," reported ABC July 10.
- Jerusalem police arrested the leader of the Women of the Wall group for carrying a Torah scroll while praying at the Western Wall, reported Haaretz July 12. Anat Hoffman violated a Supreme Court ruling prohibiting women from reading the Torah at the holy site. Dozens of Women of the Wall members arrived at the site for the traditional festive prayer in honor of the first day of the month of Av. Hoffman was barred from the Western Wall for 30 days and was ordered to pay a fine, reported Israel National News July 12.
- After eight years under a Wisconsin Democratic governor who has championed abortion rights, opponents are rallying around two Republican candidates who oppose the procedure in all circumstances, reported Chicago Tribune July 11. The Republican candidates, Mark Neumann and Scott Walker, said they would enforce the state’s existing criminal abortion ban if Roe v. Wade is overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court. They have also been endorsed by Pro-Life Wisconsin, a group that opposes abortion, including in cases of rape and incest. Democrat Tom Barrett, if elected, is widely expected to continue the pro-choice stand of current Gov. Jim Doyle.
- A California service that helps test women for cancer could become the latest program axed by budget cuts, potentially raising health risks and treatment costs for low-income patients who rely on the free screenings, reported Mercury News July 10. Since July 1, when the new fiscal year began without a budget, cash payments for mammograms and cervical cancer tests have been cut off for Every Woman Counts, a nearly 20-year-old program funded by tobacco tax revenue and federal grants. Advocates say thousands of patients may be turned away while the budget gridlock continues.
- Birmingham attorney Terri Sewell won the Democratic nomination on July 13 for Congress in Alabama’s heavily Democratic 7th Congressional District, reported Tuscaloosa News July 14. She is due to face Selma businessman and Republican nominee Don Chamberlain in November’s general election. If she wins, she will be the first elected woman to represent Alabama in the House of Representatives.
- Over the past three years, Curves International, Inc.’s U.S. franchisees have been closing outlets at a rapid rate, shrinking the chain by about a third: to 5,208 U.S. sites at the end of last year from 7,748 at the beginning of 2007, reported the Wall Street Journal July 7. Customers attribute the fall in popularity of the women’s gym–known for its 30- minute work out–due to its lack of versatility and flexibility.
- News of missing Iranian scientist Shahram Amiri’s showing up at the Pakistani embassy in Washington has sparked speculation that his appearance could be linked to a possible swap deal for three U.S. hikers detained in Iran in 2009, reported France 24 July 13.
Women’s eNews is closely watching this situation because one of the detainees in Iran–Sarah Shourd–is a Women’s eNews correspondent. She was captured on July 31, 2009, along with two others when they were hiking in the mountains of Iraqi Kurdistan, according to their families and friends. For Nora Shourd, mother of 31-year-old Shourd, the news of Amiri’s mysterious appearance in Washington has sparked hopes that her daughter and her two friends could be released. "We always hope that some development will tip it over and our children will be released. So, I’m always hoping," she told France 24.
- France’s lower house of Parliament approved a ban on wearing burka-style Islamic veils, reported the Associated Press July 13. If made into law, the legislation will forbid face-covering veils in all public places in France and call for $185 fines, loss of citizenship–or both–to those who disobey the law. Anyone convicted of forcing someone else to wear a veil could also risk fines.
- Leading Cambodian activist for women’s rights, Mu Sochua is choosing to go to jail rather than pay $4,000 in fines for suing Prime Minister Hun Sen for defamation, reported Voice of America July 9. She says if going to prison will help illuminate Cambodia’s problems, then she is willing to do whatever it takes. After Sochua sued the prime minister, he responded with his own defamation suit alleging that her lawsuit unfairly disparaged him. Authorities have not said how long Sochua would spend in prison but she says she is mentally preparing to be behind bars for six months.
- The Swiss government declared film director Roman Polanski a free man on July 12 after rejecting a U. S. request to extradite him on a charge of having sex in 1977 with a 13-year-old girl, reported the Associated Press July 12. The Swiss say the U.S. request for extradition was flawed by authorities’ failure to provide confidential testimony about Polanski’s sentencing procedure in 1977-1978.
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