Straight-shooting easy-to-understand (though STRONGLY colored by my own political opinion) summary of the news of the last couple days in case you're confused.
- Victory for Women’s Rights in TX: TX abortion bill that would prevent abortions after 20 weeks fails to pass after AMAZING state senator Wendy Davis (D-Fort Worth) filibustered for 11 hours. After the senate forced Sen. Davis to stop speaking, people in the gallery cheered until midnight (a “people’s filibuster”) preventing the bill from coming to the floor. The senate was unable to hold a vote and the TX state senate session ended–killing the bill.
- Setback for racial equality: SCOTUS strikes down the heart of the voting rights act of 1965 allowing 9 states (surprise, surprise mostly in the South) to change their election laws without federal approval. The VRA of 1965 was put in place to ensure that racial minorities (and the poor) would not be denied access to their right to vote. Immediately after the decision, TX was the first state to put barriers in place by enacting their previously blocked voter ID law. The invalidation of this portion of the VRA will allow many states to enact laws that will preferentially bar people of color and the poor from voting. Chief Justice Roberts makes a terrible mistake pretending that racial discrimination is dead in this country. Justice Ginsburg said it best in her dissenting opinion: “the court errs egregiously”.
- Victories for Gay Rights: SCOTUS struck down DOMA (The Defense of Marriage Act of 1996) which blocked federal recognition of same-sex marriages. Justice Kennedy correctly stated that the law amounted to “deprivation of the equal liberty of persons”. This ruling means the marriages of same-sex couples in states that now recognize those marriages MUST be recognized by the federal government. This means those couples will receive the protection and benefit of hundreds of federal laws including social security benefits, family leave, etc. The court elected not to rule on Prop 8 (the 2008 CA law that banned gay marriage). While not as strong a stance as some would have liked, this means the ruling by the lower court to overturn Prop 8 stands. Gay marriage is once again legal in CA.
I have nothing to add to this that was not said better by Dr. King: “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice”.
The fight isn’t over