Civil Rights

CEDAW ratification would be a triumph for Afghan women

When I was a child in Afghanistan, no one questioned the daily routine of injustice against women and girls. My own grandmother believed that girls must not eat meat, because that would make them so strong that they would question and disobey the family's men. The only way to guard a family's honor was to keep girls under strict control.


DADT must end this Congress, national security has been hurt (Rep. Steven Rothman)

As a member of the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee, I agree with Defense Secretary Robert Gates's position that the discriminatory policy known as "Don't ask, don't tell" must end during this Congress. I believe strongly that the U.S. Constitution, specifically the 14th Amendment, requires the government to apply our laws equally. That is why only negative conduct, not one's sexual orientation, should be grounds for dismissal from the armed services.


The Senate must vote to repeal 'Don’t ask, don’t tell' in 2010

Our nation is actively engaged in combat around the globe and our military needs every man and woman with the willingness and ability to serve to be able to do so. But the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” law bans openly gay men and women from serving in the U.S. military. It undermines unit cohesion and military readiness by forcing gay soldiers to live a lie. It is a failed policy that Congress should repeal immediately.


A sad situation from rural America we cannot ignore (Sen. Jon Tester)

Over the past few months we’ve seen plenty of news stories about celebrities going in and out of jail and fed-up flight attendants. But America’s 24-hour news cycle missed a painful story here in Montana.

I want you to know about this story because it reminds us that as we invest in rebuilding our economy, we still have a long way to go to improve life for kids struggling in some of our country’s most challenged communities.


LGBT community will fight for equality with or without Congress

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights advocates will be working in a new federal landscape come the next Congress after Republicans regained control of the U.S. House and Democrats retained a majority in the Senate.

The shift in the balance of power will very likely slow advancement of any legislation in Congress, including LGBT rights legislation. Does this mean a blockade on LGBT rights? Not if we can help it. Fact is, our community has always had to fight — and fight hard — for equality. This is nothing new to us.


It cannot be business as usual

This past week was one of highs and lows for advocates of repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT). Federal District Court Judge Virginia A. Phillips’ sweeping decision striking down the gay military ban and declaring it unconstitutional was a huge high, but one favorable decision by one lower court judge does not end a federal statute.


Obama administration may back marijuana prohibition, but that doesn’t mean that California voters have to do the same

The mainstream media was in a frenzy last week over statement’s issued by the Justice Department alleging that the office will “vigorously enforce” federal anti-marijuana laws in California, regardless of whether voters enact Proposition 19 this November.  Prop. 19, which will appear as a statewide ballot measure this November 2, seeks to legalize the adult possession of limited quantities of marijuana in private, and allow local governments to regulate its commercial production.