Texas SB5 is Dead, or “Wendy Davis -and all women- win, even after they tried to silence her.”

Texas Abortion Bill Filibustered By State Senator Wendy Davis Is Dead.

So yesterday I blogged about Wendy Davis’s incredible filibuster on the floor of the Texas State Senate to block the passage of sweeping abortion prohibitions in Texas. The entire thing was live-cast via YouTube and over 200,000 people were watching at one point, and the Twitter-verse was a buzz as the final hours clicked down to the midnight deadline for passage.

Just after 11:00pm central time, the presiding officer of Senate decided (wrongly and for the direct purpose of shutting her up, in my opinion) that Wendy had violated the rules of “germaineness” in her speech three times, and declared the end of the filibuster. A flurry of motions followed and extensive debate ensued on the nature of the rules of the Texas Senate, stretching the time down to the final 15 minutes. As the presiding officer attempted to call for a roll-call vote, the viewers in the gallery rose to their feet and created such a ruckus that the sheer noise prevented business from continuing. And they kept this up right through midnight, even as the Texas GOP tried to find a way around it. Eventually, a roll-call vote was taken, but it was announced this morning that it was officially recorded after the midnight deadline, and therefore invalid.

So despite the attempts of the Republicans to silence her, Wendy Davis won her battle yesterday, and the women of Texas retain their access to safe, legal abortions. Sadly, Gov. Rick Perry has signaled that he will yet-again call for a Special Session for the Senate to try to pass this bill. I can only hope that another brave Democrat will take to the floor, and that gallery is again packed with voices for women’s rights. Pay attention, Texas GOP. Those voices you hear in shouting at you from above are the people you represent.

I STILL Stand With Wendy!

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A Day of Victory for Gay Marriage, or “Believe it or not, the Equal Protection clause applies to everyone, not just white, straight, cisgender people.”

DOMA ruled uncostitutional: Full Supreme Court opinion | WJLA.com.

Hollingsworth v. Parry (Prop 8) Full Text via HuffPo

So today was a big day for queer rights in the United States, but not quite as big of a day as we had hoped. In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court broadly struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, which prevented federal recognition of otherwise legal same-sex marriages, as a violation of the Equal Protection Clause. In a related matter, the Supreme Court found that a group of proponents of Proposition 8 in California (which overturned the legality of same-sex marriage in that state) did not have the legal standing to continue the appeal after the State refused to continue to defend the voter-approved initiative. The high court had the opportunity to make a wider ruling on overall legality of same-sex marriage, but chose a much narrower scope, as predicted by many court watchers.

So what does this all mean? Well, the biggest thing is means is that United State federal government will have to treat all marriages equally, no matter the genders of the couple. This means significant tax benefits, social security survivor benefits, military spouse benefits, and much more. I think it also puts some pressure on the states to re-examine their so called “Definition of Marriage” laws. For the majority opinion penned by Justice Kennedy:

DOMA’s principal effect is to identify a subset of state-sanctioned marriages and make them unequal. The principal purpose is to impose inequality, not for other reasons like governmental efficiency.

Kennedy’s entire opinion is very indicting of the entire concept of DOMA, and I cried several times while reading it. Not surprisingly, the conservative members of the Court were sour eggs on the entire thing, and the dissenting opinions reflect their continued homophobia. From Justice Alito’s dissent:

At present, no one—including social scientists, philosophers, and historians—can predict with any certainty what the long-term ramifications of widespread acceptance of same-sex marriage will be.

Alito is invoking the age-old- and completely unfounded- homophobic worries about the “dangers” that queer people pose to society at large. Scalia, ever the charmer, reinforces his protestations from Lawerence v Texas that laws may mandate “sexual norms” and makes the same tired comparison of same-sex marriage to polygamy:

As I have observed before, the Constitution does not forbid the government to enforce traditional moral and sexual norms. See Lawrence v.Texas, 539 U. S. 558, 599(2003) (SCALIA , J., dissenting). I will not swell the U. S. Reports with restatements of that point. It is enough to say that the Constitution neither requires nor forbids our society to approve of same-sex marriage, much as it neither requires nor forbids us to approve of no-fault divorce, polygamy, or the consumption of alcohol. 

There are many more gems like this sprinkled through all the dissents.

The case involving Prop 8 in California, Hollingsworth v Perry, is a much different beast. If you don’t remember, the legislators of the State of California approved same sex marriage several years ago. Then a pack of angry, well-funded Christian Right groups pushed forward with a referendum that forced a state-constitution amendment that banned gay marriage. The entire matter ended up in Federal district court, where the proposition was a struck down. At this point, the State decided to not pursue any appeals in the matter. However, the proponents of Prop 8 pushed on with the appeals in the State’s stead. Today, the Supreme Court rules that those proponents did not have any legal standing to do so, as they were not seeking remedy for any “personal and tangible harm.” So this means that gay marriage is once again legal in the state of California, but it’s broader implications are limited. In many ways, this is a punt by the Court. The one positive thing here, however, is that reinforces the notion that the angry Christian Right activists have absolutely no standing to force the courts to continue to consider appeals on any gay-marriage decisions if the States are no longer interested in defending their “one-man-one-woman” marriage laws.

Overall, today is definitely a day to celebrate a victory for queer rights in our country, and I’m overjoyed at the progress made today. However, we we still have MANY states where gay marriage remains illegal, and many places where LGBT discrimination remains perfectly legal. So, today may be a major battle win, but the war is far from over. Let’s carry this enthusiasm onwards and continue our push for equality for all!

 

The Bravery of Wendy Davis, or “One amazing woman has the guts to call the Texas GOP on their misogynistic bullshit.” [I Stand With Wendy!]

Badass Texas Senator Launches Intense Filibuster Against Abortion Bill.

So if you’re a feminist and you haven’t heard about SB5 in Texas, then you are probably living under a rock. But if you are just recently coming out of coma or something: the Republican legislators in Texas are attempting to push through sweep legislation that would ban abortions after 20 weeks (much like this bullshit legislation before Congress) and close all but 5 abortion providers in the state.

The measure has already gained passage in the state House, and it came to the state Senate floor today. One awesome and brave female state Senator has taken on the task of filibuster this horrific piece of legislation. Wendy Davis took the floor and as of the moment I’m posting is still standing strong. And Senator Davis isn’t just reading a phone book up there…she’s been actively destroying the “merits” of this legislation for the entire duration. She’s pulled apart the language, read court opinions, provided medical research, and shared the stories of dozens upon dozens of women.

Making this feat even more impressive are the particularly difficult rules governing filibusters in the Texas Senate. She must remain standing the entire time, without so much as leaning on the rostrum. She can take n breaks for food or the bathroom. The GOP has been looking for ways to force her off the floor, but she’s remained steadfast in her effort.

I am so blown away by Wendy Davis’s dedication to fighting for women’s right to control their bodies. I’m proud to declare her my hero of the month! If you’d like to share your story with her, you can tweet her @WendyDavisTexas or show your support by tweet with the hashtag #StandWithWendy.

Commentary on the “Sugar Baby” culture, or “Sharing some fantastic snark and rage about some really sad garbage.” (Reblog)

Exposé on Miami’s ‘Sugar Baby’ Culture Is Most Depressing Thing Ever.

Erin Ryan over on Jezebel wrote a really good little piece about a recent exposé on the “sugar daddy/baby” culture in Miami. I don’t want to steal the thunder from her wonderful snark, so please read it. But the take-way is:

What really sucks about sugar baby relationships is that most of the arrangements don’t seem like they’re entered into freely; they’re a desperate response to a shitty set of circumstances — a lack of job opportunities, lack of job abilities, and last, but not least, the insanely high cost of college education.

 

That’s something all of us feminists can be sickened over.