Originally published on Sun September 9, 2012 2:07 pm
Credit J Pat Carter / AP
The debate over states' rights versus federal power is as old as our country. The latest brush-up comes in a doubly-sticky challenge to the federal Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, which defines marriage as being between one man and one woman.
In another sign of Democrats' growing embrace of gay-rights issues, an Iowa man who gained national attention for his story of growing up with lesbian mothers was to address the party's national convention Thursday.
Zach Wahls became a bit of an Internet star last year after testifying against a proposed same-sex marriage ban before members of the Iowa House of Representatives. A video of his statement went viral online, garnering millions of views.
Prison officials in Massachusetts say they are still reviewing a federal court decision in Boston ordering them to provide sex-change surgery for a prison inmate. Critics are urging officials to appeal what they call an outrageous abuse of taxpayer funds. But as NPR's Tovia Smith reports, the decision this week reflects national trends of prisons treating gender identity disorder as a legitimate medical condition deserving treatment like any other.
A federal judge in Boston today "ordered state prison officials to provide a taxpayer-funded sex-reassignment surgery to a transgender inmate serving life in prison" for murder, The Associated Press writes.
A growing number of companies are changing their health insurance plans to include benefits for transgender employees.
Yet even though professional groups such as the American Medical Association recommend coverage of services for transgender people —who identify with a gender other than the one they were born as—many companies continue to hold back. One of their big worries is cost.