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ACLU on Civil Rights

 

 


Supported "no excuse" absentee voting bill

Sununu vetoed the so-called "no excuse" absentee voting bill, warning it would erode the state's vaunted political tradition of in-person participation at the polls. Advocates of the bill had wanted New Hampshire to join 28 other states and the District of Columbia, which allow voters to obtain an absentee ballot without having to give a reason for why they can't make it to the polls.

The League of Women Voters and the American Civil Liberties Union had supported this cause (HB 611).

Source: New Hampshire legislative voting record, bill HB611 , Sep 8, 2019

Fight to defend Supreme Court's same-sex marriage ruling

Nearly four years after the Supreme Court made same-sex marriage legal throughout the US, Republican lawmakers in Tennessee introduced a bill aimed at banning gay marriage in the state. The "Tennessee Natural Marriage Defense Act," which was first proposed in 2016, seeks to "defend natural marriage between one man and one woman regardless of any court decision to the contrary."

One obstacle is the state's LGBTQ community and its allies, who banded together in 2017 to prevent the bill's passage. "Tennesseans who are in committed same-sex relationships simply want to be treated with the same dignity and respect as everyone else," the executive director of the ACLU in Tennessee, said. "A handful of state legislators cannot nullify the law of the land and drive our state backward simply because they wish to discriminate. The ACLU of Tennessee, along with many partners, will be working hard to defeat this narrow-minded, blatantly unconstitutional legislation."

Source: NBC News on Tennessee voting record SD-022 , Feb 12, 2019

Religious objections to GLBT services same as 1960s racism

We see today claims to a right to discriminate--by refusing to provide services to LGBT people--based on religious objections. For example: wedding service providers closing their doors to same-sex couples planning their weddings. While the situations may differ, one thing remains the same: Religion is being used as an excuse to discriminate.

Claiming a right to discriminate in the name of religion is not new. In the 1960s, we saw objections to laws requiring integration in restaurants because of sincerely held beliefs that God wanted the races to be separate. We saw religiously affiliated universities refuse to admit students who engaged in interracial dating. In those cases, we recognized that requiring integration was not about violating religious liberty; it was about ensuring fairness. It's no different today.

Religious freedom in America means that we all have a right to our religious beliefs, but this does not give us the right to use our religion to impose those beliefs on others.

Source: ACLU 2015-16 voting recommendation on RFRA vs LGBT , May 11, 2016

First Amendment doesn't include right to turn away LGBT

The House of Representatives, as well as leading anti-LGBT organizations, are pushing a bill--disingenuously titled the First Amendment Defense Act--that would open the door to unprecedented taxpayer-funded discrimination against LGBT people, single mothers, and unmarried couples. While this bill does nothing to protect individuals' rights under the First Amendment, its parade of horribles would:
Source: ACLU 2015-16 voting recommendation on FADA , Jul 20, 2015

Gay marriage bans deny rights to loving & committed couples

A federal judge in Utah struck down the state's ban on same-sex marriage, saying the law violates the US Constitution's guarantees of equal protection and due process: "The state's current laws deny its gay and lesbian citizens their fundamental right to marry and, in so doing, demean the dignity of these same-sex couples for no rational reason. Accordingly, the court finds that these laws are unconstitutional."

The judge said that while he agreed with Utah that marriage has traditionally been left to regulation by the states: "The issue the court must address in this case is not who should define marriage, but the narrow question of whether Utah's current definition of marriage is permissible under the Constitution."

The ACLU of Utah filed an amicus brief in the case and legal director John Mejia said the organization was "thrilled" by the decision. "We think that it was a discriminatory law that only served to deny loving and committed couples the protection and dignity of marriage," he said

Source: Salt Lake Tribune, "Marriage & Utah laws" , Dec 20, 2013

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Page last updated: Jan 28, 2020