Sex in the voting booth

Elizabeth's picture

There is a reason they only allow one person in at a time!

We are suddenly less than a week away from Election Day in the United States an there is sex on the ballot all over the place. I'm especially interested in the following ballot questions that deal with

Sex worker rights and public health

In San Francisco there is Proposition K which would direct the police to stop enforcing laws against prostitution. A "yes" vote on Proposition K will help protect the safety of sex workers and their clients. It may also help in efforts to find victims of human trafficking, as customers who suspect a worker has been trafficked will not need to fear prosecution if they report their suspicions to the police.

Marriage

In California, statewide, there is the question of Proposition 8 which would amend the state's constitution to define marriage as a relationship between one man and one woman, thus invalidating the recent court decision which legalized same sex marriage in that state on the basis of the state constitution's equal protection clause.

In Florida a similar measure, Amendment 2, would go further and jeopardize domestic partner recognition.

In Arizona it's Proposition 102 which in very short and simple language adds to the state's constitution a definition of marriage that restricts it to one man and one woman.

In Connecticut the issue comes up because of Question 1, a ballot question that CT residents answer every 20 years that asks whether or not the state should have a constitutional convention to "amend or revise" the state constitution. (The CT Supreme Court declared that prohibiting same-sex marriage was unconstitutional.)

Reproductive Freedom

In Colorado an extraordinary measure, Amendment 48, would give legal rights to equal justice and due process to fertilized eggs even before implantation (i.e., pregnancy). That could end up making emergency contraception, illegal. It could criminalize the failure to use all eggs fertilized during In Vitro Fertilization procedures. It opens the door for the criminal justice system to investigate miscarriages.

In South Dakota they will be voting on Initiated Measure 11, an abortion ban. In 2006 the state's legislature passed and the governor signed an abortion ban, but a ballot initiative overturned that law. Now they are trying again by putting the ban up for a popular vote with a very vague health exception included.

Back in California the reproductive freedom voting will be on a parental notification law, Proposition 4, which is a misguided attempt at protecting teens because most teens seeking abortions already consult their parents and the ones who don't are usually the ones who can't. Making it harder for them to get the health care they need only further jeopardizes their life chances.

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What's going on in your corner of the US electoral map? Are there sex-related issues at stake in your town, city, state? Are there elected officials we need to know about? And if you aren't in the US, what sex-related issues should we be paying attention to in your political landscape?

Technorati Tags: politics, law, marriage, sex work, LGBT, reproductive freedom

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