US court win for bigots
In Boston, a gay, lesbian and bi-sexual group, GLIB, has been prevented by a court ruling from taking part in the St Patrick's Day parade through the city.
The US District Court ruled in January that the South Boston Allied War Veterans Council can exclude GLIB from this year's march. The judge said that because the parade intends to protest at GLIB's inclusion in marches in 1992 and 1993, GLIB's presence in 1995 would "confuse and mute" the veterans' demands. Their exclusion was therefore justified on the grounds of protecting the veterans' rights to freedom of speech.
The veterans, who have run the event since 1947, are promoting the parade as one that will "honour St Patrick and celebrate family values" as well as protest against previous rulings ensuring the participation of GLIB.
Since the election of a Republican majority to the US Congress in November, a flood of anti-choice bills has been introduced. They range from bills to strengthen the rights of parents and deny information about reproductive choice to teenagers, to gag rules on adolescent health projects forbidding the discussion of abortion.
One bill proposes allowing states to deny Medicaid funding to victims of rape and incest who seek termination of a resulting pregnancy, and another proposes the reversal of the Supreme Court's historic Roe v Wade pro-choice decision of 1973.