This week there were two significant developments on our issues–one good and one disappointing. The good news is that HB 358, which would have barred transgender girls and young women from participating in school sports designated for females, is dead. The disappointing news is that a bill to raise the marriage age to 18 with no exceptions (HB 41/SB 35) was gutted. The amended bill brings the existing law into line with the sexual assault statute– something that should have been done when the marital rape exemption was repealed–while retaining all of the archaic exemptions that allow marriage as young as age 14.
This week saw the introduction of two terrible bills. The religious right has had so much success on the medical front passing laws to regulate abortion and abortion providers, they have decided to widen the scope of their activities to deny trans youth medical care (SB 514). The second bill (SB 515) would legalize medical discrimination across the board by introducing a bill that would allow doctors and other medical personnel along with hospitals and other medical practices to deny medical care to anyone for conscientious reasons. It is worthwhile to examine these two bills in detail because they provide important insight into the kind of world these religious extremists desire.