Sex Stories: Week in Review, 2/21-2/28/14
Sexual Health Rankings™ presents Sex Stories, a weekly roundup of sexual health news from around the country.
Arizona Governor Vetoes Anti-LGBT Discrimination Bill (Salon.com)
On Wednesday, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer vetoed a bill passed by the legislature that would allow parties to use religious beliefs to defend themselves against discrimination lawsuits. The bill led to an intense national debate about religious freedom, civil liberties, and discrimination.
Dem Candidate for Harris DA Says Domestic Violence is ‘Overrated’ (Texas Observer)
A candidate for Texas District Attorney recently came under fire for his remarks that minimized the seriousness of interpersonal violence. In addition to arguing that resources should be diverted away from family violence in order to try other cases, he also argued that most assaults should not be prosecuted because they are deserved.
Judge Strikes Down Tex. Same-Sex Marriage Ban, Paving Way for Shift in Conservative State (Washington Post)
A federal judge struck down Texas’ ban on same-sex marriage on the basis of it being “state-imposed inequality.” His logic mirrored that of other judges in recent decisions, specifically that such unions are neither a new right nor a privilege separate from heterosexual marriage. The law, however, does not allow same -sex marriages just yet as it is waiting appeal.
Study Backs DNA Tests for Disorders in Low-Risk Pregnancies (LA Times)
A new study of over 1900 low-risk women showed that the DNA test for genetic disorders did a better job of identifying them and had a significantly lower rate of false-positives than standard tests. The study aimed to examine whether DNA testing, approved for use in high-risk pregnancies, could also be used in low-risk ones. Researchers hope better screening tests will decrease the need for more advance and invasive procedures such as amniocentesis.
Feds Investigating MSU Response to Sex Assaults (WZZM13)
The US Department of Education visited Michigan State University this week as part of their investigation of sexual harassment and violence complaints against the university. Representatives held focus groups and office hours to learn more about the campus’ climate and process for investigating such offenses. MSU officials say they “responded fully and appropriately” and that MSU is a leader in this area; however, students say the university could do more.
Pastor is Vocal on Sexual Health (Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel)
One Milwaukee pastor is speaking up about sexual health and disease prevention. In addition to encouraging abstinence, she also encouraged the congregation to carry condoms and know their status. She hopes to spread a message of acceptance and says that the church needs to be more vocal and teach their congregations that there are ways to protect themselves from disease.
Foes of Transgender Rights Law Fail to Force Vote (ABC News)
County officials determined that there were not enough valid signatures to force a public vote on a California statue that allows transgender students to make decisions based on their expressed gender. Proponents of the bill feel it will create more inclusive and welcoming school environments. Opponents, however, say it will contribute to abuses and awkwardness. They currently are reviewing disqualified signatures and “preparing for the next stage of the battle.”
New York Revenge Porn Case Thrown Out (CBS News)
The first revenge porn case tried in New York state found the defendant not guilty. The decision was based on the fact that revenge porn does not violate any specific criminal statute. Advocates argue that such a ruling directly relates to a gap in the law when it comes to properly handling cyber harassment. They further argue that it supports the need for specific revenge porn laws similar to those in New Jersey and California.
Columbia Reports LGB Individuals Living in Anti-Gay Communities Die Early (ASPPH Friday Letter)
According to a new study linking anti-gay prejudice to mortality data, lesbian, gay, and bisexual persons living in anti-gay communities have a significantly shorter life expectancy than their peers living in more welcoming ones. Rates of suicide, homicide, violence, and heart disease were also elevated in communities with high rates of prejudice.
Texas Finds Additional Education May Help Delay Teen Sex and Reduce Risky Sexual Behavior (ASPPH Friday Letter)
A follow-up study to an earlier trial of two middle school sex education programs shows that their impacts are not fully sustained into high school. Those who received the program were less likely to have initiated anal sex, engaged in fewer risky sex behaviors, and maintained the knowledge gained. However, rates of oral and vaginal sex initiation were not different between the experimental and control groups. Their results argue in favor of additional education beyond the middle school years.