Tag Archives: LGBTQ

Privacy isn’t in the Constitution – but it’s everywhere in constitutional law

Who’s allowed to watch what you do and say?
Shannon Fagan/The Image Bank via Getty Images

Scott Skinner-Thompson, University of Colorado Boulder

Almost all American adults – including parents, medical patients and people who are sexually active – regularly exercise their right to privacy, even if they don’t know it.

Privacy is not specifically mentioned in the U.S. Constitution. But for half a century, the Supreme Court has recognized it as an outgrowth of protections for individual liberty. As I have studied in my research on constitutional privacy rights, this implied right to privacy is the source of many of the nation’s most cherished, contentious and commonly used rights – including the right to have an abortion – until the court’s June 24, 2022, ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson. Continue reading

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Supreme Court Ruling Turns Separation of Church and State Into ‘Constitutional Violation,’ Warns Sotomayor

“We are witnessing one of the most extreme Supreme Courts in modern history rewrite the most basic social commitments of our society,” said the head of one of the nation’s largest teachers unions.

By Julia Conley  Published 6-21-2022 by Common Dreams

United States Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor speaking to attendees at the John P. Frank Memorial Lecture at Gammage Auditorium at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona. in 2017. Photo: Gage Skidmore/flickr/CC

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor on Tuesday warned that the court’s right-wing majority had further eroded the nation’s bedrock laws separating church and government when it ruled that Maine must include religious schools in a state-run tuition program.

“Today, the court leads us to a place where separation of church and state becomes a constitutional violation,” wrote Sotomayor in the minority’s dissent of the 6-3 decision. Continue reading

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‘We need to take an unusual step’: a Polish feminist’s message to her US sisters

I’ve seen what a draconian abortion law can do in Poland. Here is what I think we should do

By Klementyna Suchanow  Published 5-12-2022 by openDemocracy

Protest against Poland’s abortion laws held in Gdansk on 10-24-2020. Photo: LukaszKatlewa/Wikimedia Commons/CC

I co-founded the Polish Women’s Strike, which led a series of anti-government demonstrations following the almost-total outlawing of abortion in 2020. I have spent six years of my life protesting attempts to restrict women’s access to it and to defend democracy. That’s why nothing surprises me about the Roe v Wade situation in the United States. In fact, there is a clear similarity: public opinion says one thing, while a group of zealots forces an entire nation to do the opposite.

Poland has had restrictive laws in place since 1993, with abortion only legally available in cases of rape and incest, threat to the mother’s life, or severe foetal abnormality. After an unsuccessful attempt to further restrict abortion in the Polish Sejm (the lower house of the country’s parliament) in October 2016, a law banning the abortion of non-viable foetuses finally came into force on 22 October 2020. It was imposed by the Constitutional Tribunal, an institution whose independence and legality is itself in question. The new law means that women are now forced to carry their pregnancy to term and give birth to a dead foetus. Continue reading

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Investigation Shows Hundreds of US Cops Being Trained by Far-Right Extremists

“Bad training is instilling bad behavior,” said one criminal justice reform advocate.

By Kenny Stancil  Published 5-6-2022 by Common Dreams

Photo: Tony Webster/flickr/CC

Hundreds of cops across the United States have been taught by individuals who espouse far-right extremist views, according to a new investigation that was published Friday to sound the alarm on a burgeoning and unregulated private training industry.

Reuters identified five law enforcement trainers who have been hired by police and sheriffs’ departments nationwide despite their support for right-wing militia groups, including the Oath Keepers, Proud Boys, and Three Percenters; the QAnon conspiracy, which baselessly claims that Democrats and Hollywood stars belong to a cabal of Satanist pedophiles and cannibals; and former President Donald Trump’s “Big Lie” that the 2020 election was stolen. Continue reading

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1,100+ Banned Books Across 26 States: Report Shows ‘Shocking’ Censorship

“What is happening in this country in terms of banning books in schools is unparalleled in its frequency, intensity, and success,” said the director of PEN America’s Free Expression and Education program.

By Jake Johnson  Published 4-8-2022 by Common Dreams

Photo: Enokson/flickr/CC

A report published Thursday by the free expression group PEN America details an “alarming” and unprecedented surge in book banning across the United States, with 86 school districts in 26 states prohibiting more than 1,100 titles in classrooms and libraries over just the past eight months.

Titled Banned in the USA, the report finds that districts representing 2,899 schools with a combined enrollment of more than 2 million students banned 1,145 unique book titles by 874 different authors, 198 illustrators, and nine translators between July 1, 2021 and March 31, 2022. Continue reading

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The French election is all about imperialism. Here’s why

With oligarchs using their media outlets to promote far-Right presidential candidates, France is being haunted by its own ghosts

By Adam Ramsay  Pubished 4-6-2022 by openDemocracy

Screenshot: CNN

To understand the coming French election, we need to start not with the incumbent president Emmanuel Macron, nor with any of his rival candidates, but with a billionaire called Vincent Bolloré.

Like many oligarchs, he started out by inheriting a family business founded by his ancestors – in this case, in the 1820s. These days, the eponymous Bolloré is one of the 500 biggest companies in the world, and has a stranglehold on West African trade, controlling 16 major ports down the coast from Mauritania to Congo-Brazzaville. Continue reading

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‘This Law Will Not Stand,’ Say Equality Defenders as DeSantis Signs ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis “has damaged our state’s reputation as a welcoming and inclusive place for all families,” said one rights advocate. “Worse, he has made schools less safe for children.”

By Julia Conley.  Published 3-28-2022 by Common Dreams

Community leaders, parents, kids, doctors, lawyers, assemble in front of the White House to protest the non-science based policy of segregating LGBTQ children in public schools based on the schools’ determination of their gender identity. Photo: Ted Eytan/CC

Rights advocates on Monday said they will continue to fight against Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ attacks on LGBTQ+ families after the Republican governor signed the so-called Parental Rights in Education bill that’s come to be known as the state’s “Don’t Say Gay” proposal.

After DeSantis signed the bill Monday, standing at a podium with a sign reading, “Protect Children,” the law will go into effect July 1. Continue reading

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Students Rally Against ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill at Florida Capitol

“Restricting discussion of queer people and erasing our identity within public schools will only exacerbate the pre-existing issues that LGBTQ+ youth face,” said one student protest organizer.

By Brett Wilkins.  Published 3-7-2022 by Common Dreams

Students and their supporters rallied at the Florida state Capitol in Tallahassee on March 7, 2022 as the state Senate began debating a so-called “Don’t Say Gay” bill. (Photo: MoveOn/Twitter)

Students, teachers, and supporters from across Florida flocked to the state Capitol in Tallahassee on Monday ahead of a state Senate debate of the so-called “Don’t Say Gay” bill opponents say will have “devastating consequences” for LGBTQ+ youth.

As students and supporters chanted “we say gay” in downtown Miami before boarding buses Sunday night for the eight-hour trip to the state capital, Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava told WSVN that “it’s shameful what’s going on in Tallahassee.” Continue reading

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Why learning about gender diversity is urgent

To avoid bigotry and discrimination, we must learn about the broad human spectrum of gender-diverse experiences, now and in the past

By Chrissy Stroop.  Published 12-23-2021 by openDemocracy

Imae: Sonzal Welfare Trust/Facebook

This week, openDemocracy published a story about Indian-administered Kashmir’s transgender community. The article focused on the longstanding cultural role that transfeminine Kashmiris have played (and still play) as matchmakers and wedding performers, as well as on the bullying and marginalisation that they experience, in most cases beginning with their own families.

The article ends on a note of hope, observing that living as their authentic selves outside a performance context is becoming a realistic option for some young transwomen, and quoting an Islamic cleric who is opposed to anti-trans discrimination. Continue reading

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Civil Rights Groups Denounce ‘Unlawful’ Book-Banning Effort by Texas GOP

“We will not stand by and watch politicians play games with the education and well-being of our children.”

By Brett Wilkins.  Published 11-23-2021 by Common Dreams.

Two prominent national civil rights groups on Tuesday blasted efforts by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and state Rep. Matt Krause—both Republicans—to compel school districts to censor hundreds of books, including many popular LGBTQ+, reproductive rights, and racial justice titles, following the passage of laws prohibiting the teaching of the racist history of the United States and banning transgender athletes from interscholastic athletics.

The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and the LGBTQ+ advocacy group Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, Inc. issued a statement condemning “Texas politicians’ efforts to force schools to begin pulling books from their classrooms and libraries shelves under the guise of state law.” Continue reading

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