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12/5/2017

You've likely heard a lot about cake today. That's because the U.S. Supreme Court heard a case this morning involving a same-sex couple and a Christian baker who refused to sell them a wedding cake.

In short, the baker asserts that his refusal to make the couple's cake is protected by his rights to freedom of speech and freedom of religion. Or, even shorter: that his religious freedom translates into the right to discriminate.

Because, truly, this is what discrimination looks like. The baker's iss...

12/1/2017

Great news! The Washington Department of Health has proposed a new rule to make it easier for a person to change the gender listed on their birth certificate. It also creates a gender marker in addition to male or female. If the rule is approved, you could change your gender marker to X, which represents a gender that is not exclusively male or female (such as intersex, agender, genderfluid, genderqueer, Two Spirit, non-binary, and more).

Currently, state law requires either a court order or a do...

11/28/2017

Christal Fields wasn't allowed to explain.

She was successfully working in child care when the Department of Early Learning conducted a background check and found a decades-old conviction for attempted robbery. For that reason only, the Department denied her the right to continue working in her chosen field.

Christal wasn't allowed to explain that the conviction was from nearly 30 years ago when she tried to steal a stranger's purse. She wasn't allowed to explain that, at the time, she was homeles...

11/1/2017

In a time when it feels like we wake every day to a new challenge, we were heartened on Monday to receive a justice-filled reminder that progress is still possible. The Court of Appeals stood with Sandra and survivors across Washington—just in time to help us celebrate the final days of Domestic Violence Awareness Month!

Sandra had asked the court for a domestic violence protection order (DVPO) against her husband, Joshua, but she didn't receive a full protection order until eight months later. J...

10/23/2017

You likely heard that the Trump Administration recently launched an attack on birth control under the guise of religious liberty. But you may have missed another, less publicized threat to reproductive health care.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released a draft of its Strategic Plan for the next five years. Through this Plan, the Department aims to reframe its mission by defining life as "beginning at conception" and explicitly prioritizing the religious and moral beliefs of s...

10/11/2017

Last week, the Trump Administration made it easier for your employer to make reproductive decisions for you. The Administration expanded the exemption to the Affordable Care Act's birth control mandate so that an even broader range of employers can stop offering contraceptive coverage in their health insurance plans if they have religious - or the more general "moral" - objections to birth control.

This latest attack on our health care rights is devastating and totally unscientific. It also viola...

9/28/2017

The Trump Administration’s most recent travel ban is a poorly disguised attempt at discriminating against Muslims and an assault on many of the civil rights Legal Voice and our allies fight for. Thousands of immigrants and refugees—who are just as much a part of the fabric of our society as people born in the United States—are now subject to a permanent policy built on xenophobia and unfounded fear; no citizens from the banned countries have been involved in a fatal terrorist attack in the past...

8/21/2017

Victims of domestic violence are over five times more likely to be killed by their abuser if the abuser has access to a firearm. And even if a gun is never fired, just knowing that an abuser has access to one causes domestic violence survivors to fear harm. That's why the Washington Legislature unanimously passed a 2014 law to prohibit gun possession by abusers who are subject to domestic violence protection orders that meet specific requirements.

But tragically, abusers—and courts—don't always f...

8/17/2017

Legal Voice represents a group of health care providers, researchers, clinic staff, and others who are involved in fetal tissue research programs with the University of Washington’s Birth Defects Research Lab. They fear for their safety if their personally identifying information is disclosed in public records requested by anti-choice extremists. As one of our clients explained, "I fear that having my identity and personal information released to the public would lead to harassment, threats, or...

7/27/2017

There is a hidden cycle of abuse. It plays out in courtrooms across Washington State and, like many forms of abuse, is incredibly detrimental to survivors' emotional and economic health. Yet it remains largely unrecognized by the court. We're talking about abusive litigation.

Abusive litigation is a pattern in which an abuser uses the legal system to continue exerting control over a survivor. Common tactics include repeatedly forcing the survivor into court for child custody proceedings and dragg...

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