Saturday, June 15, 2013

Rick Perry Vetoes Equal Pay

From the Huffington Post
Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) has vetoed a bill meant to prevent wage discrimination against women. 
An aide to state Rep. Senfronia Thompson (D), who authored the equal pay bill, HB 950, said Perry's office called on Friday to say he had vetoed it. State Sen. Wendy Davis (D), who introduced the Senate version of the legislation, told the Texas Tribune that she had received the same call... 
...According to the Houston Chronicle, Thompson said Perry's office objected to her legislation because it duplicated federal law. The governor's office did not return a request for comment from The Huffington Post, and a veto statement was not yet available online. 
But the backers of HB 950 have pointed out that their legislation would allow parties to proceed on cases in a nearby state court, instead of having the increased expense of having to go to federal court. Lilly Ledbetter protections also do not always apply to certain state cases. 
Forty-two states have passed equal pay laws similar to the one Perry vetoed. Women currently make only 77 cents for every dollar men earn.
Yet again, on the rare occasion that the Texas state legislature gets something right, Rick Perry mucks it up.
A proposal coming before the American Bar Association’s Criminal Justice Section would permanently render the so-called “gay panic” defense inadmissible in court. According to the dot429 blog, if the proposal is ratified, it will ban defense attorneys from using the sexual orientation or gender identity of a victim against them in court.
Too often, according to dot429, attorneys representing perpetrators of violent acts against LGBT people resort to accusing the victims of “bringing it on themselves” in order to defend their clients in court. The “gay panic” defense says that an LGBT brought violent retribution on themselves, up to and including murder, by sexually propositioning someone who was so enraged by the gesture that they had no choice but to react violently.
It was invoked, unsuccessfully in the trail of the murderers of Matthew Shepard and Gwen Araujo. The term “gay panic” was first used by psychiatrist Edward J. Kempf in his 1920 book Psychopathology, in which he described it as “a distinct stage in the psychoses.” However, it is rarely used in modern courts since no one has able to verify its existence as a genuine psychiatric phenomenon.

As dot439 pointed out, “If merely being sexually propositioned was a legally acceptable reason for killing someone, countless thousands of heterosexual men would be at severe risk for being murdered by women they made a pass at.”
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