This Week Online: A Step Toward Marriage, and More 1/30-2/6

February 06, 2015

State Departments Prepare to Extend Benefits to 323 Gay Couples Married in Michigan (Mlive)
Jay Kaplan, a staff attorney for the ACLU of Michigan who worked on the marriage recognition case, said it is "hard to enumerate" all of the state benefits that those couples - whose marriages were already recognized by the federal government -- will now be entitled to. A lot of the new benefits are "practical things," said Kaplan, such as the ability to easily change a last name on a driver's license or qualify as a beneficiary on a spouse's state pension. (ALSO: Detroit Free Press, Detroit News)

The Horror in U.S. Prisons (Oakland Press)
The Michigan Department of Corrections is the target of a class-action lawsuit saying that the state ís prisons failed to prevent male teen inmates who were locked up with adults from being sexually assaulted by other prisoners.

Ann Arbor Psychologists Sue State After Being Forced to Pull Ad from Psychology Today (MLive)
"These are qualified professionals who simply want to find the most effective way of reaching and helping those in need," said ACLU attorney Michael Steinberg, who is representing the women. "Their promotions were honest and in no way misleading. And since truthful commercial speech is protected by the First Amendment, it's clear that the state overstepped its bounds by enacting and enforcing a law that essentially silences these professionals."

Medically Unnecessary Physician Reporting Bill Introduced in Michigan (RH Reality Check)
“This bill is designed to increase the overall number of abortion-related complications,” said ACLU of Michigan Legislative Director Shelli Weisberg. “By requiring the reporting of these minor things, anti-abortion people will be able to say, ‘Look at all these complications from abortion.’"

Abortion Rights Advocates Say MI Doing Poorly on Women's Health (WKAR)
Current State talks about the study with the lead researcher with Ibis Reproductive Health in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Dr. Amanda Dennis, and Merissa Kovach, co-chair of a new coalition of Michigan women’s groups called MI Lead and field organizer for the Michigan ACLU.

Dearborn, MI: Where Muslims Are…Americans (Daily Beast)
Which makes this next part particularly ironic: After a district court barred Jones’ 2011 protest, the ACLU branch Elmir oversees defended his rights to free speech and free assembly in court.