You've heard, no doubt, about the nefarious anti-gay law Russia passed in 2013, which makes it a crime to spread "propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations." Now Russia has applied the law to journalist Elena Klimova (Russia oppressing a journalist? Why, that's unprecedented!), who started the website Children 404 to help gay teenagers struggling with oppression find each other and help each other. Apparently, even helping minors tell each other that it's OK to be gay falls under "propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations." Hence Amnesty International helps you tell Russia to free Ms. Klimova and stop applying the law in such a brutish fashion. Just as an aside, the Norton Critical Edition of Anton Chekhov's Short Stories contains an essay by Maxim Gorky describing his acquaintance with Mr. Chekhov, who comes across as a relentlessly humane, decent, subtle, honest, and illuminated fellow. I try to remember it, and the promise it offers, whenever I think of Russia as an irredeemably backwards land, more brutish, even, than in the most fevered dreams of American extremists.
Meanwhile, H.R. 3712/S. 1810, the Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act (or FAMILY Act), would, essentially, convert the unpaid leave workers take under the Family Medical Leave Act into paid leave, for those folks who apply for such leave to the Social Security Administration. Folks on FMLA wouldn't get full pay if the FAMILY Act passes, but at least they wouldn't have to constantly choose between work and caring for themselves or children or other loved ones. And guess which nation is the only one of all the high-income nations to offer exactly zero paid leave under these conditions? That's right, the U.S. of A. The FAMILY Act would also, not incidentally, extend FMLA protections to domestic partners, including those in same-sex relationships. Let the haters crow about FMLA abuse, as if the only way to fix that is through taking everyone's benefits away, and not, say, to enforce the law and punish fraudsters. For fraudsters hurt all of us -- and give our enemies an excuse to take away what we've fought for. USAction helps you tell your Congressfolk to support the FAMILY Act.
Finally, if you've missed previous opportunities to tell your Congressfolk to support H.R. 3899/S. 1945, the Voting Rights Amendment Act, then the People's Email Network still helps you do that. You remember why we need the Voting Rights Amendment Act, right? We need it because the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Section 4(b) of the Voting Rights Act in Shelby County v. Holder, because they found the formula for determining which states/municipalities get extra scrutiny from the federal government to be outdated. But the Court also said Congress could substitute a new formula that would meet Constitutional scrutiny, and Congress would do that with the Voting Rights Amendment Act. The bill would apply extra scrutiny to changes in the law from states and municipalities that have broken federal election law five times in the previous 15 years -- meaning that, in theory, any state or municipality, and not just ones in the South, could come under additional scrutiny. That improves the law and addresses the Court's peculiar concern for the South. Hell, I'm not against pleasing everyone -- if you can.