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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Fabulously Feminist News

DC Council Votes to Recognize Same Sex Marriages Performed in Other States

The Washington, DC Council voted in a 12 to 1 vote yesterday to recognize same sex marriages performed in other states. The council voted unanimously for the measure in a preliminary vote in April. Mayor Adrian Fenty is expected to sign the measure.

Former DC Mayor and Councilmember Marion Barry, who supports same sex domestic partnership and marriage rights, but cast the sole vote against the bill, said after the vote that "All hell is going to break lose….We may have a civil war. The black community is just adamant against this," reported the Washington Post. An emotional debate took place at the council meeting prior to the vote. At one point, Councilmember David Catania, who is openly gay, said "this issue is whether or not our colleagues, on a personal level, view me and Jim Graham as your equals….if we are permitted the same rights and responsibilities and obligations as our colleagues. So this is personal. This is acknowledging our families as much as we acknowledge yours," according to the Washington Post.

Congress has jurisdiction over DC's laws and has 30 days after the measure is signed to reject the measure. In order to block the legislation, a joint resolution against the legislation must be passed by Congress and this resolution must be approved by the president, according to the Washington Times. If Congress does not take action, the measure will become law. In a statement, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) said “I do not believe that a serious attempt to overturn the Council bill will be made or would be successful."

Media Resources: Feminist Daily Newswire 4/8/09; Washington Times 5/6/09; Eleanor Holmes Norton Statement 5/5/09; Washington Post 5/6/09


Same Sex Marriage Bill Passes in Maine Senate

The Maine state House voted yesterday in favor of a bill that would allow same sex couples to marry in the state in a 89 to 58 vote. The state Senate voted in favor of the bill last week in a 20 to 15 vote. The Boston Globe reported that the bill will be voted on once more in both the House and the Senate before being sent to Governor John Baldacci.

According to the Associated Press, it is unclear whether Governor Baldacci will sign the bill if it is passed by the legislature. A recent poll showed 47.3 percent of Maine residents support the same sex marriage bill and that 49.5 percent oppose the legislation, reported the Associated Press.

Thousands gathered for a Judiciary Committee hearing on the bill in April and, according to the Bangor Daily News, the crowd gave a standing ovation to the bill's sponsor, state Senator Dennis Damon.

If the legislation is approved, Maine would be the fifth state to permit same sex marriage in the United States after Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, and Vermont. Similar legislation is currently under consideration in New York and New Hampshire.

Media Resources: Feminist Daily Newswire 5/1/09, 4/30/09; Associated Press 4/22/09, 4/22/09; Bangor Daily News 4/22/09; Boston Globe 5/5/09


Potential Voting Fraud Concern for Afghan Women

As Afghanistan approaches their August presidential election, the potential for voter fraud that infringes on women's rights is gaining visibility. Women have been registering to vote in suspiciously high levels in regions of the country where women rarely travel. In a press conference, Dr. Sima Samar, chairperson of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission explained that "men are just bringing the names of a woman and getting registration cards on their behalf and that is why I can say there is a possibility of fraud," Reuters reported.

Samar further explained "Two issues are of concern for me. First is that the right of the woman to cast her vote will not be given to her, and the second is that it's possible that there will be serious fraud in the election by this method," reported the Associated Press.

Kai Eide, the United Nations special envoy to Afghanistan, told Reuters that "Of course we are worried about the irregularities [in registration], but...there is still a possibility to correct much of this on polling day....We know that during the last election there was rather serious fraud at that level on polling day and immediately afterwards, and that is what the system we are trying to put in place now is intended to minimize."

Media Resources: Associated Press 5/4/09; Reuters 5/3/09

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