Monthly Archives: September 2013

13 posts

September 23-29 Weekly News Round Up

A round up of current news story on the state and national level, with a focus on feminist issues

By Tess Koenigsmark

At a rally in Hamden, CT politicians and advocates for greater worker protections drew attention to how CT can improve its current laws. While CT was ahead of other states in passing family medical leave, many workers still can’t afford to take advantage of leave that is unpaid. Representative Rosa DeLauro spoke at the event and advocated for a federal paid sick leave bill.

From Tuesday to Wednesday, Senator Ted Cruz  “filibustered” the Senate vote on a House spending bill that would also have defunded the Affordable Care Act. Democrats and  some Republicans saw Cruz’s antics as having more to do with gaining personal publicity than the legislation at hand. Congress must pass a spending bill to continue funding the government and avoid a looming October 1 shutdown, but the Senate predictably rejected the House version that would defund the Affordable Care Act.

This Tuesday is the big day for the Affordable Care Act, as the state healthcare exchanges, one of the core pieces of the legislation, open in all 50 states. How smoothly the exchanges operate and how many people enroll will be a huge factor in judging the success of the Affordable Care Act. You can find information on CT’s exchange, Access Health CT, here.

A Connecticut task force created after the Newtown shooting is responsible for making recommendations on how to improve mental health services in the state. Figuring out how to better address mental illness is something that all states should be devoting greater energy to. However, one issue I do have is that addressing mental health as part of a response to Newtown reinforces the stereotype that the mentally ill are prone to violent behavior, ironically enabling the stigma the taskforce is trying to prevent.  Most mass shooters are not mentally ill, and to my knowledge there is still no evidence indicating that the Newtown shooter suffered from mental illness.

John Olsen, president of the CT AFL-CIO, stepped down earlier this week with a farewell speech that warned against threats to labor even in liberal states such as Connecticut. Governor Malloy was present to voice his support for organized labor. The new president, Lori Pelletier, will be the first openly gay woman to lead a US state labor federation.

Governor Malloy has issued an executive order that will make it easier for veterans to transfer their military experience into college credit.

State government officials, including Governor Malloy and Attorney General George Jepsen, are objecting to changes in federal tribal recognition standards proposed by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The concern is that the changes, which would relax current standards, would allow for the recognition of several additional tribes in Connecticut, entitling them to land and the right to open casinos. The clear stance of CT officials regarding the changes has led Indian news outlets to accuse state officials of being anti-Indian.

Women’s groups in Texas have filed a lawsuit against the new anti-abortion provisions in the legislation that was famously filibustered by Wendy Davis, who is running for Texas Governor. Hopefully, the suit will stop implementation of provisions that have the potential to shutter several Texas abortion clinics. The law will otherwise go into effect October 29.

Finally, what would a roundup be without a good dose of righteous outrage? The chairman of Barilla Pasta went on a radio show and decided it would be the perfect opportunity to discuss why he would never have a gay family in their advertisements. Seriously? Obviously anti-gay sentiment has not gone anywhere, but at least most public figures have figured out that no one wants to hear about their homophobia. And must we drag poor pasta, in all its carb-laden goodness, into this?

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Southern Connecticut State University Should Take Sexual Harassment Seriously

The following is a guest blog post by Tess Koenigsmark. Tess is a recent graduate of the University of Connecticut, where she double majored in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, and Political Science. She was heavily involved in sexual assault prevention and reproductive justice activism and hopes to build on those experiences by pursuing a career in social justice.

Please note that views expressed by guest bloggers represent solely their own. CT NOW believes in open dialogue and multiple perspectives and welcomes (civilly worded) thoughts different from our own, but we do not necessarily endorse any writing done by the author elsewhere.

In 2011, Wendy Wyler, a student at Southern Connecticut State University, filed a sexual harassment complaint against her music professor, David Chevan. According to the complaint, Chevan led her into a storage closet and sexually propositioned her while standing in front of the door, blocking her exit. Chevan’s lawyer continues to claim that the incident Wyler describes as truly frightening was nothing more than a misinterpreted conversation that lasted only several minutes. Wyler, whom I had the opportunity to speak with via phone conversation this week, paints a much more sinister picture of a series of inappropriate behaviors which culminated with the confrontation in the storage room. Wyler says that Chevan initiated a “grooming process” weeks earlier, starting with him offering her private lessons and solos.  While Wyler was at first pleased with the extra attention, as any musician would be, Chevan’s behavior soon became increasingly inappropriate. For example, he told her she was sexy and divulged that he had an affair with a student at a different university. At the urging of a friend, Wyler decided to file a complaint with the university. Afterwards, she learned from a former classmate that she was not the only female student subject to Chevan’s harassment, and her female classmates had suspected that she would be Chevan’s next target.

In a just world, one where all forms of sexual violence are taken seriously, this story should end here. Wyler makes the brave choice to come forward about the harassment, another student corroborates her claim, and a serious disciplinary process against Professor Chevan begins. It ends with a ruling that Chevan is no longer welcome at SCSU. Unfortunately, we do not live in that world, and that is not what happened. Wyler faced a series of major hurdles from the minute she decided to come forward, and her struggle continues today. Chevan was eventually found guilty of violating the sexual harassment policy, but his punishment was a mere one-week suspension and he continues to teach at SCSU today. As unsavory as that is, even such weak disciplinary action would not have happened without Wyler’s steadfast perseverance.

When Wyler first called SCSU’s human resources department, their response to her complaint was to tell her to “think about it and call back,” leaving her shocked and confused. She wasn’t undecided or uncertain about what had happened to her, and never claimed to be. Later on, she was told that there simply wasn’t anybody to take on her complaint. The position of the Title IX Coordinator, who is responsible for handling sex-based discrimination complaints, was empty. When somebody from the university finally agreed to meet with Wyler in person, they discussed what had happened for two hours, and concluded by telling her that there wasn’t anything they could do for her, but that they wanted her to “feel heard.” After all of this, a new university employee took on her complaint and launched an investigation. This led to Chevan being found guilty of violating sexual harassment policy and his one-week suspension.

Wyler’s complaint became public in January of 2012, when she filed a lawsuit against Chevan and another against SCSU. After filing the suit, Wyler’s attorney received numerous complaints from women who were harassed by Chevan, going back up to ten years. While Wyler has now settled the lawsuit against Chevan, mostly in order to cover mounting legal fees, the case against SCSU is still pending.

Sadly, Wyler’s experience is not unusual. Title IX, which was passed in 1972, prohibits sex-based discrimination in schools and is meant to ensure that women and girls have equal access to education. Schools must address sexual harassment and sexual violence appropriately, and failure to comply can lead to a federal government investigation.  Despite the potential repercussions, many colleges and universities fail to address these issues until forced to do so. That’s exactly what happened at Yale, where the Office of Civil Rights conducted a 15-month investigation into the university “for its failure to eliminate a hostile sexual environment on campus, in violation of Title IX.”  Wyler hopes that if she wins the case against the university, it will trigger a Title IX investigation, and the university will be forced to make changes.

Those changes would hopefully include reforming the process through which sexual misconduct claims are handled. Wyler considers all the effort she’s put into her case worthwhile, and encourages other victims to go public with their stories, but her experience is certainly not one someone would wish on future victims. Considering the outcome of coming forward – a continued lack of support and discouragement from university officials and a slap on the wrist for the perpetrator – what evidence is there to offer other victims that reporting harassment is worth their while? Colleges and universities continue to give lip service to supporting victims, claiming they have no tolerance for sexual misconduct. Yet they can’t encourage victims to come forward, to go through what is generally acknowledged as a difficult process – sharing a traumatic story with university officials, being prepared for backlash from other students, having their actions investigated along with the perpetrator’s – if the punishment for perpetrators is so negligible to call into question its effectiveness as a deterrent for future bad behavior. It’s as if the punishment is almost inverse to both the trauma of harassment and the secondary trauma faced by going through the process of making the complaint. The path of Wyler’s complaint through university bureaucracy was so twisted that if SCSU were to treat the complainant and the accused equally, officials would have had to ignore Chevan and not return his calls for several weeks before he was allowed to mount a defense.

Sexual harassment is a serious offense that detrimentally affects women’s ability to obtain an education. However, the implications of a case such as this one are broader than sexual harassment alone. Sexual harassment is only one rung on a continuum of sexual violence that includes stalking, sexual assault, and domestic violence. How an institution responds to any of these problems lends insight to how it will handle others. There are several reasons for this; firstly that allegations regarding any of these acts are generally handled through a similar process, one that would hopefully involve the Title IX Coordinator. Secondly, even though the offense may vary, institutional callousness towards one victim of sexual violence does not bode well for others.  The lines between different types of offenses are not as clear as people may think. Too often, perpetrators escalate in their behaviors. Harassers can turn into stalkers. Stalkers can turn into rapists. Domestic violence can include any of these behaviors. If a university truly wants to deter any of these offenses, it should be concerned with all of them. When I asked Wyler if she had any concerns about SCSU’s handling of sexual assault claims, she expressed concern that the university’s lack of action could in some cases allow violence to escalate where it could have been prevented. Of the university’s indifference to her ordeal, she said it was like “they wanted me to walk out of that closet room bruised and bloodied and then they would have listened.” Wyler was not raped, and fully understands the difference between her experience and sexual assault. However, her experience should make one question how SCSU does handle sexual assault, an even more delicate situation, if a single sexual harassment complaint overburdened their current system.

The silver lining in all of this is that after fighting alone for much too long, Wyler has found support within the SCSU campus.  After hearing about her case several SCSU students banded together to form a new student group called “SCSU Speaks.” They hope not only to force action in Wyler’s case, but also to change how the university handles all sexual harassment violations. Although Wyler graduated in 2012, she is an integral part of the group. While their top priority is getting Chevan removed from campus, a list of their other demands can be seen here. They have already had one rally, attended by approximately 100 students, and their momentum is growing. Along with local sources, several national news outlets have covered their story, and they have been invited to speak at Georgetown Law’s Title IX Conference. Not too shabby for a fledgling organization.

Professor Chevan should have been removed from campus years ago (to be specific- at least two, and possibly ten). Wendy Wyler’s case against Southern Connecticut State University is one more piece of evidence in an epidemic of sexual misconduct and violence at colleges and universities across the country. As long as schools fail to take Title IX seriously, women do not have access to an education equal to that of their male peers. No woman’s pursuit of education should be interrupted by harassment or violence, but if it is, schools should act quickly to ensure the least disruption to the victim’s life and studies. And if a basic sense of compassion and regard for their students’ well-being isn’t motivation enough, schools can count on dedicated campus reform advocates, such as Wyler and SCSU Speaks, to provide the extra push.

More information on SCSU Speaks can be found at the group’s Facebook page or Tumblr, and they can be contacted through email at SCSUspeaks@gmail.com. Their next rally will be held on Monday, October 7th at 1:00 p.m. Protestors will be marching to the Title IX Coordinator’s office to demand that SCSU meet their first three demands: removing Chevan from campus, issuing a formal apology, and forming a committee to reform sexual harassment policy. Those who can’t attend can still offer their support by signing their online petition. In addition, the group hopes that its efforts will encourage other survivors of harassment to speak out, and they welcome people to contact them anonymously to share their stories.

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Congrats Lori Pelletier!

For Immediate Release                                              Contact: Jacqueline Kozin & Laura Bachman

September 27, 2013                                                    Email: president@now-ct.org

 

CT NOW Congratulates New AFL-CIO Leader Lori Pelletier

Pelletier’s Historic Election will Help Advance Women in Connecticut

 

The Connecticut Chapter of the National Organization for Women (CT NOW) applauds the Connecticut AFL-CIO upon their selection of Lori Pelletier as their next leader.

 

“Lori is most deserving of this position and is a role model for women across Connecticut,” said Laura Bachman, Co-President.   “She has been a champion for Connecticut laborers and has fought passionately for benefits that matter most to women, like paid sick days and affordable health insurance.”

 

“As the first openly gay woman to lead a state labor federation Lori provides a new, refreshing face to Connecticut’s public policy leadership and the labor movement,” stated Jacqueline Kozin, Co-President.  “Connecticut women have another strong voice advocating for their needs and rights.”

 

CT NOW congratulates Lori as she begins her new position and is hopeful that her leadership will bring more economic justice to women and laborers in Connecticut.

 

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CT NOW believes that the personal is indeed political; therefore it strives to impact and change attitudes, beliefs, and policies that harm all women by fighting for political, economic, and social justice through education, organizing and action. For more info, please visit our website, www.now-ct.org.

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September 16-22 Weekly News Round Up

A round up of current news story on the state and national level, with a focus on feminist issues

By Tess Koenigsmark

New US Census Bureau data shows a widening gap between the rich and the poor, with unemployment rates for the lowest group of earners at 21 percent. Connecticut is no stranger to income inequality, particularly in Fairfield County.

CT Attorney General George Jepsen is pushing for legislation that would require healthcare providers to notify patients upfront about hospital facility fees. As more doctors’ offices are acquired by hospitals, some unsuspecting patients have been billed thousands of dollars in hospital facility fees for medical procedures.

Implementation of the state healthcare exchange as part of the Affordable Care Act is making strides in CT, but lags behind in other states. A large part of the difficulty is that many states have opted not to run their own exchange, making the federal government responsible for implementation in those states.

The House of Representatives voted to cut 4 billion dollars a year from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (also known as food stamps). California representative Jackie Speier made an unconventional and epic argument against the cuts, which included bringing steak, vodka, and caviar to the House floor. Speier chided representatives who oppose SNAP yet eat lavish business meals around the globe on someone else’s dime.

In an effort to get more men involved in reproductive justice advocacy, NARAL celebrated “Men for Choice” day Wednesday.

The Supreme Court is likely to rule on whether the contraception mandate in the Affordable Care Act impinges on the First Amendment rights of business owners.

CT parents have filed a complaint against the Hartford school system after their daughter went on a field trip where students participated in a re-enactment of slavery and were subject to racial epithets.

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Women of Color in the Media and Society’s Beauty Standards

Between Sheryl Underwood’s recent comments that natural African-American hair is “nasty” and Julie Chen’s public confession that she underwent eyelid surgery to enhance her career by looking “less Asian,” the women of daytime television’s The Talk have been at the center discussions on race, women and standards of beauty.

In an interview with model Heidi Klum, Klum shared that she enjoys keeping her children’s hair after haircuts for sentimental reasons.  Klum, who is white, shares children with recording artist Seal, who is black.  She described her children’s hair as “huge afros.”  African-American host Sheryl Underwood then chimed in that she failed to see why anyone would want to keep hair of that texture.  Underwood said:

“OK, I’m sorry, but why would you save afro hair?  You can’t weave afro hair. You never see us at the hair place going ‘Look, here, what I need here is, I need those curly, nappy beads.’ That just seems nasty.”

After host Sara Gilbert added that she also keeps her children’s hair, Underwood added: “Which is probably some beautiful, long, silky stuff.”  After a social media backlash accusing Underwood (who routinely wears silky textured wigs on air) of self-hatred, she issued an apology for her statements, taking to the airwaves on Steve Harvey’s radio show.  Underwood offered: “I want to apologize for my recent attempt at humor that missed the target and hit my people squarely in the heart. To all of you I say, I’m very sorry for my failed attempt at humor surrounding something that’s very sensitive to us: our hair.”

The issue of natural hair has indeed made waves for African-American women in the working in the media.  African-American TV Meteorologist Rhonda Lee was fired from Shreveport’s KTBS for defending her short, natural hair on the station’s Facebook page after her appearance was attacked by a viewer.  This occurred years after being told by a news director at a different station that her hair was “too aggressive.”   In this case Lee’s racial appearance was blatantly held against her, with a definite implication that her short hair also called the femininity of her appearance into question.

However, such comments are not limited to African-American women’s hair.  More recently, lead-host of The Talk Julie Chen admitted to having her eyelids surgically altered to appear less Chinese.  Chen quoted a former boss:

“He said ‘Let’s face it Julie, how relatable are you to our community? How big of an Asian community do we really have in Dayton? … On top of that because of your heritage, because of your Asian eyes, I’ve noticed that when you’re on camera, when you’re interviewing someone you look disinterested and bored because your eyes are so heavy, they are so small.'”

Though women of color may be employed to work in front of the camera, there is a tremendous amount of pressure to appear less “ethnic” and to represent an idealized standard of beauty.  Looks matter.  Whether that means African-American women wearing long, silky textured wigs, Asian women having eyelid surgery to make the eyes appear more rounded or women of all races being expected to be a certain body size and shape (remember the fat-shaming of anchor Jennifer Livingston?), the message is that “White is Right,” and that being a racial minority is acceptable so long as there is an effort to appear as white as possible.  And being a woman is acceptable so long as she is physically attractive under a very narrow definition of beauty.

Feminists both male and female need to continue to challenge these standards of beauty for women who work in the media.  The messages we receive from the constant stream of media in our lives run deep.

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Are You Ready to Bare It All?

Tired of feeling the pressures by the media, advertising execs, or the fashion industry that you’re not beautiful without make-up?  Do you have something to say about it?  Well maybe you need to boycott through Girlcott.

CT Girlcott is working to raise awareness about the representation of women in the media, the pressures women live with to look a certain way, the objectification of women, and the impact all of this has on our lives and the life of our nation and world as well as encouraging conversations among women about body image, definitions of beauty, and what cosmetics are really covering up.

They recently held a press conference to highlight the pressures on women, which you can read about here and here.  

The organization is looking for help with their blog and website, as well as women to have their make-up free portraits included in their online gallery.

Contact information is available, here.

You can check out more about the movement, here

As CT Girlcott founder Rabbi Donna Berman noted in an email to CT NOW about the movement, “This could be a huge part of what the ‘face’ of feminism looks like in 2013.” 

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September 9-15 Weekly News Round Up

Weekly News Round Up

 A roundup of current news story on the state and national level, with a focus on feminist issues

By Tess Koenigsmark

Southern Connecticut State University students held a protest Tuesday against alleged university mishandling of a sexual misconduct case. Two years ago, the university concluded that Professor David Chevan had violated school sexual harassment policies after a student came forward with claims that he trapped her in a storage room and made sexual advances. Chevan was suspended for two weeks, but remains on campus and has not suffered any university disciplinary action beyond the suspension. While Chevan’s lawyer denies the allegations, the take-away here is that SCSU found Chevan guilty of serious misconduct and continues to employ him. This is not a question of he-said, she-said, but a failure to appropriately discipline a staff member found to be at fault.

Connecticut is using a unique approach to encourage enrollment in the state healthcare exchange, which opens in October. Outreach workers have been going to beaches, concerts, and other local events to market the exchange to residents. Connecticut’s investment is a smart one, as the more people enroll, the more successful the exchange will be. The exchange is targeted at the uninsured as well as people paying too much for their current insurance, and will offer substantial subsidies to offset costs.

NAACP leader Ben Jealous is stepping down as the organization’s President and CEO. Over at RH Reality Check, is it time for a black feminist NAACP president?.

Debate over the constitutionality of an Ohio abortion law is headed to the Supreme Court. The law requires doctors to follow FDA protocol for prescribing Mifeprex, the medication (sometimes referred to as the “abortion pill”) taken for a medical abortion. While following FDA protocol sounds innocuous enough, the Slate article linked above explains how this actually requires doctors to administer the medication in a manner that’s less safe for patients, making the law a blatant attempt to undermine women’s reproductive options.

India has sentenced 4 men convicted in a New Delhi gang rape and murder to death by hanging. The rape and murder of the 23-year old victim sparked outrage in India over the frequency of sexual assault and the government’s failure to address sexual violence.

In a recent study of 6 Asian countries (Bangladesh, China, Cambodia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Papua New Guinea), 1 in 4 men admitted to committing rape.  The study highlights the widespread nature of sexual violence, and the need for proactive solutions addressing rape culture. A necessary reminder: While it’s easy to let outrage over sexual violence in other countries placate us about the state of affairs in the US, our “developed” nation is far from perfect in regards to this issue.

Speaking of which, members of the Peace Corps currently do not have access to abortion coverage in cases of sexual assault. Other federal employees, including members of the military, already receive this coverage.  The Peace Corps Equity Act was introduced in the Senate earlier this year to correct this glaring oversight. To be sexually assaulted while doing your job is traumatic enough without having to worry about the consequences of an unintended pregnancy. You can sign a petition in support of the Peace Corps Equity Act here.

A report on the performance of Hartford students shows that that students attending magnet or suburban schools outperform their peers who remain in Hartford Public Schools. The initiative to desegregate schools is a result of a 1996 Supreme Court Case, and CT is still shy of its required integration benchmark. While it’s hard to deny that integration is beneficial (for urban and suburban students, I would argue), the bigger question is how to best achieve it.

A report by Connecticut Voices for Children found that arrests in CT schools declined over a three-year period, but many students are still being arrested for minor school violations. While schools should take legitimate safety concerns seriously, it makes little sense to criminalize children for non-threatening disciplinary issues. There is also a striking racial disparity in rates of arrests.

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CT NOW’s LOVE YOUR BODY 5K IS LESS THAN 2 MONTHS AWAY!

CT NOW’s LOVE YOUR BODY 5K IS LESS THAN 2 MONTHS AWAY!

Please consider registering for this amazing event. CT NOW is proud to host the LOVE YOUR BODY 5k Run/Walk each year to help promote self confidence, positive self image and a healthy lifestyle to men, women and children across Connecticut.

If you are not able to run or walk consider volunteering, we are looking for volunteers for the registration and food tents as well as individuals willing to hand out water on the course.

We are also still looking for sponsors! Please visit the link to register to run or walk, volunteer or sponsor this fabulous fall event.

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September 2-8 Weekly News Round Up

 Weekly News Round Up

 A roundup of current news story on the state and national level, with a focus on feminist issues

By Tess Koenigsmark

The Washington Post has pulled off a remarkable feat, running not one, but two, victim blaming, rape apologist columns in under a week. You can read both at your own risk, but both columns essentially blame girls, not women but girls, for their own rapes. Both articles are resoundingly idiotic, desperate attempts at relevancy by the people who penned them. That makes the larger question, why would the Washington Post publish them in the first place? My best guess is the titillation factor. Discussing something “taboo” like rape is seen as edgy and attention grabbing. Rape is not a scandal; it is a crime and should be covered as such.

The percentage of Connecticut households experiencing food insecurity has risen, according to a report by the US Department of Agriculture. Cited reasons for the increase, which is at odds with national trends, include CT’s high unemployment rate and food deserts. The current situation will only worsen if the federal government decides to cut the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (also known as food stamps).

A Connecticut pilot program requiring perpetrators of domestic violence to wear GPS ankle bracelets has proved effective since its launch in 2010. Legislators are considering making it a statewide program.

Teen birth rates dropped to their lowest numbers yet last year. Researchers are crediting more effective birth control methods, such as the IUD, for the decline. Let’s take this moment to reflect on the awesomeness that is the IUD – no upkeep, low risk, and virtually foolproof. It’s definitely an option that should be recommended to more young women.

In honor of their 20th anniversary the National Network of Abortion Funds has launched Abortion Access Month 2013. They will be promoting discussions on barriers to abortion access throughout the month. You can use the hashtag #access13 to follow the conversation on Twitter.

A collective of Texas reproductive health centers is mapping the crisis pregnancy centers in the state, as well as the abortion facilities expected to remain open by September 2014.  Several clinics are expected to close by that date, when restrictive new anti-choice laws take effect. The current tally stands at 108 crisis pregnancy centers versus 6 abortion clinics. In making abortion clinics scarcer, the new laws also increase the risk that women will turn to crisis pregnancy centers, which are religiously funded organizations that offer inaccurate medical advice to scare women out of seeking abortions.

Under direction from Attorney General Eric Holder, the Department of Veteran Affairs will no longer enforce a law that denies spousal benefits to same-sex couples. A Norwich veteran will continue with the lawsuit she filed against the VA after she and her same-sex spouse were denied benefits. While federal orders such as Holder’s can be reversed, the suit would force a definitive ruling on the law’s constitutionality.

The city of San Antonio has passed an ordinance that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Opponents of the bill claimed that it would be a violation of free speech and lead to the persecution of Christians. Seriously. Newsflash for the bigots of San Antonio, free speech is not a blanket defense for treating someone like dirt.

CT Senators Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal are in disagreement about the use of air strikes on Syria. Blumenthal supports the strikes, while Murphy has voiced his opposition throughout the debates over Syria.

If you haven’t seen this already, it should definitely brighten your day. Aziz Ansari, a comedian most well known for his role as “Tom” on Parks and Recreation, gives a smashing takedown of racist and homophobic jokes after sitting through one too many as a presenter at Comedy Central’s roast of James Franco. Watch the video here.

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On a positive note: abortion in the main stream.

So a pretty cool thing I noticed this week was that a profile in the NY Times Wedding section actually had a couple openly talking about abortion, and not just any couple, but captain of the Miami Heat Udonis Haslem.

“I am not a huge fan of abortion, but we both had sports careers, plus we could not financially handle a baby,” said Mr. Haslem, noting how he struggled with supporting Kedonis, the son he had in high school, who is now 14 and who lives with his mother.

“Udonis appreciated that I was willing to have an abortion,” Ms. Rein said. “I found him caring, supportive, nurturing and all over me to be sure I was O.K. I saw another side of him during that difficult time and fell deeply in love. He had a big heart and was the whole package.”

I love that. I love that there’s not a big fuss made about the fact that she had an abortion (just those lines). I love that they don’t stigmatize the abortion. And I love that they both seemed to come about the choice together and that he was supportive.

I’m happy that I can write about something nice for once, in a time where abortion access is getting repeatedly restricted and stigmatized, about how it’s a necessary and often best decision for many people out there.

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