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Despite the debates over marriage equality still going on, seven years ago today the American Psychological Association endorsed marriage equality for same-sex couples, citing that it is healthier and would provide more security for those couples to be able to marry. Even though the largest professional organization of psychologists endorsed same-sex marriage with scientific proof to back it up, marriage equality is still not the law in many states.
These are the official resolutions issued by the APA when they endorsed marriage equality:
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the
APA believes that it is unfair and discriminatory to deny same-sex couples
legal access to civil marriage and to all its attendant benefits, rights, and
THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED
that APA shall take a leadership role in opposing all discrimination in legal
benefits, rights, and privileges against same-sex couples;
THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED
that APA encourages psychologists to act to eliminate all discrimination
against same-sex couples in their practice, research, education and training
(American Psychological Association, 2002);
THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED
that the APA shall provide scientific and educational resources that inform
public discussion and public policy development regarding sexual orientation
and marriage and that assist its members, divisions, and affiliated state,
provincial, and territorial psychological associations.
While progress has been made against discriminatory policies toward the LGBT community, such as marriage equality being legalized in New York and the repeal of DADT, there is still a lot of work to be done as far as equal rights and benefits for same-sex couples.
Voter suppression efforts by governors are picking up across the country, all supposedly in the name of reducing voter fraud when in reality these laws are just reducing the number of voters who can easily access the ballot. Governor John Kasich of Ohio signed an elections reform bill into law at the beginning of July that added numerous restrictions to voting as well as allowed poll workers to refuse to tell voters where they can vote.
- Early voting by mail would be cut to 21 days under the Republican plan.
- The new law would ban early voting by machine anywhere except at county elections offices.
- The legislation also would forbid counties from mailing unsolicited absentee-ballot applications to voters
These restrictions would mean that 4 out of every 10 voters in Columbus alone would not have been able to vote when and where they did in 2008.
In addition to these limitations in Ohio, Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin signed a similarly restrictive bill into law earlier this year requiring Wisconsin voters to present a photo ID, making it harder to vote for groups like elderly voters, young voters, students, minorities and low-income voters. Now that he has signed that law, Walker is making it even harder on voters by finalizing a plan to close up to 10 offices where people could have obtained photo IDs. All of these efforts are working to suppress the vote and trying to reshape the electorate in time for the 2012 elections rather than encouraging more people to have their voices heard.
This past Friday President Obama, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff all signed a letter certifying that the military is ready to fully repeal "Don't Ask Don't Tell" which prevented openly gay, lesbian and bisexual men and women from serving in the military. By signing the certification, a 60 day period was started that will end with the full repeal of DADT. "In the meantime, a court injunction still prohibits the military from discharging or investigating individuals under DADT."
"The certification is the last required step under repeal legislation passed last December, a provision included as a concession to conservatives who argued that the Pentagon needed time to prepare for the policy change so as to not disrupt military readiness."
Critics accuse Obama of "thrusting" the repeal on the armed forces, which they argue are not ready for the changes in policy, despite the thorough review and trainings that have taken place since last December.
"The Pentagon also indicated that despite the certification, some lingering issues remain. Same sex couples will not be eligible to share benefits like health care, housing and transportation allowances with their same sex partners as long as the Defense of Marriage Act remains law."
While there is clearly still some work to be done for full equality for the LGBT community in military service, this is definitely a step in the right direction.
With the summer starting to wind down, that final weekend of parades and picnics celebrating Labor Day is around the corner. NPR posted an interesting interview with Jeff Cowie, an Associate Professor of Labor History at Cornell University, in which he discusses the history of the labor movement and what changes it has seen since the first time Labor Day was celebrated in 1882. Listen to the interview and view the transcript here.
In a report out this week from the Institute of Medicine, "it has recommended all FDA-approved birth control methods and emergency contraception be covered by insurance companies with no cost-sharing." Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, has said that the department is reviewing the recommendations and should reach a decision on whether this extension of coverage should be required by August 1st.
"The report also recommends complete insurance coverage - without co-pays - for lactation counseling and equipment, domestic violence screening and counseling, screening for gestational diabetes, human papillomavirus testing as part of cervical cancer screening for women over 30, counseling on sexually transmitted infections, and counseling and screening for HIV."
Despite the effects this type of coverage would have on reducing unintended pregnancies, and in turn saving some government spending (unintended pregnancies cost taxpayers around $11 billion every year), pro-life advocates are against this type of coverage being rolled up into their health insurance policies. Those who oppose artificial birth control say there should be an option to opt-out of coverage that includes emergency contraceptives that have "chemically abortive properties." Emergency contraception does not cause abortion, but rather prevents fertilization in the first place said Dr. Vanessa Cullins, vice president for medical affairs at Planned Parenthood.
According to a national poll out this past May, 88% of voters support women's access to contraception, and adopting the Institute of Medicine's recommendations into insurance coverage would help those women achieve easier access to those services.
With conservatives taking over many state legislatures in 2011, the new majorities have wasted little time ramming through radical legislation on issues from choice to collective bargaining rights to voter ID.
America Votes President Joan Fitz-Gerald was a guest on the Mario Solis Marich Show last night to talk about the Wisconsin recall elections and her latest piece in the Huffington Post.
Our friends at the The Barbara Lee Family Foundation have just published new research showing gains for women candidates in campaigns for executive office and pinpoints key areas for women to master. The research shows that in 2010:• Women candidates ran on a more level playing field;• Voters prioritized more gender-neutral traits than in past years;• Women candidates showed some distinct advantages over men;• Younger women are no longer a reliable voting bloc.
Turning Point: The Changing Landscape for Women Candidates is the latest addition to their landmark Governors Guidebook Series, Turning Point is designed to be accessible and relevant to citizens, students, campaign consultants, and candidates at all levels and across parties.
After primaries for the recall election in Wisconsin were held yesterday, the six true Democrats all prevailed over the "fake" candidates
The Republican Party organized the plan of running "fake Democrats" to push back the general election another month, which will now take place for these six spots on August 9th. There are still three current Democrats who are up for recall under the excuse of them fleeing the state to stop the vote on Gov. Walker's collective bargaining law.
On Monday, the 11th day of the Minnesota government shutdown, the Minneapolis Star Tribune released a list of 138 legislatures who are still being paid while over 22,000 state workers are furloughed. Governor Mark Dayton along with 62 other legislatures have declined their pay until the budget talks are settled and the rest of the government gets back to work. Unfortunately, despite Dayton's efforts to push a compromise, the GOP in Minnesota is not budging from their plans for the budget. Dayton is now instead embarking on a road trip across the state to take "his case for the budget plan directly to the voters."