And then sometimes they get it right!

Hot off the wires:

California Supreme Court Overturns Gay Marriage Ban

The full NYT story is here.  Note the surge of commonsense:

The justices released the 4-3 decision, saying that domestic partnerships are not a good enough substitute for marriage in an opinion written by Chief Justice Ron George. Justices Joyce Kennard, Kathryn Werdegar and Carlos Moreno joined the majority.


 In striking down the ban, the court said, “In contrast to earlier times, our state now recognizes that an individual’s capacity to establish a loving and long-term committed relationship with another person and responsibly to care for and raise children does not depend upon the individual’s sexual orientation, and, more generally, that an individual’s sexual orientation — like a person’s race or gender — does not constitute a legitimate basis upon which to deny or withhold legal rights.”

There’s a link to the decision and more discussion at Talk Left.

Abortion law in the UK: ‘no evidence’ for change

Worrying movements in the UK parliament; a bill is being proposed to lower the abortion time limit from 24 weeks to 20 – the aim being, allegedly, to eventually lower it to 13. What?!

See the f-word for more discussion, and Zoe Williams’ piece worrying about why abortion is still taboo (and how the taboo is perpetuated by the unwillingness of some  pro-choice members of parliament to  be forthright in their views).

And she points out that, unsurprisingly, lowering the time limit is likely to have the biggest impact on less well off women:

‘In Britain, while some care trusts offer a good abortion service pre-12 weeks, it is by no means nationwide, so a very large proportion of women are having to wait till after their three-month scan unless they can afford to go private. And yet, many women who count as late-term abortions, at 18 weeks or more, report that the reason their pregnancy got so advanced was because that at any point from 15 weeks, their GPs became obstructive and unhelpful. So really, the window for an abortion on the NHS can be as narrow as three weeks, and all it takes is some garden-variety inefficiency for that window to be shut altogether.

So it boils down to this: for those of us with the cash, abortion is still an inviolable right, and for those of us without it, things are a lot more sticky.’

And even then, an inviolable right to have an abortion? Only if two docs say you can (the good news is that *might* be changing).  


Horrible ballot design

Wouldn’t you think by now people would at least *try* to produce ballots that work? Here’s a detail from an absentee ballot for New Jersey’s 12th congressional district. Which bubble would you fill in if you wanted to vote for current representative Rush Holt (ironically, the leading congressional advocate of improved voting procedures)?

In this instance, no great problems are likely to result: it’s the primary, and Holt is running unopposed. However, it doesn’t exactly inspire confidence for the future. This isn’t technically challenging stuff– it’s a matter of putting bubbles *next to* the voting options. Let’s please, please, please try to get this one right by November. Sigh. (Thanks, Mr J, for your technical assistance.)