As January approaches and we make our plans for the new year, it’s tempting to simply shut the door on the last one. But while 2015 brought its share of challenges, it also gave us plenty to celebrate. Here are some of my favorite civil liberties achievements of the year:
On Sunday, I was honored to speak at a rally for solidarity organized by the Portland Racial Justice Congress. Here are my remarks:
The United States has a complicated history when it comes to immigrants. On one hand, we have a proud tradition of being a place where people come seeking better lives for themselves and their families. Our very Constitution protects all people regardless of where they were born, and perhaps the greatest symbol of American values – the Statue of Liberty – offers refuge to the tired, the poor, the huddled masses yearning to breathe free.
A decade ago, Mainers went to the polls to affirm the rights of transgender people. Two years ago, the Maine Supreme Court upheld those rights.
And this week, we learned that Gov. LePage is trying to interfere with the very same rights of transgender people who live in OTHER states – people like ACLU client Gavin Grimm, a boy who simply wants to use the right bathroom at school.
All of us at the ACLU were shocked and saddened by the shooting at Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs on Friday, November 27. Our hearts go out to the family and friends of those who were lost in this terrible tragedy – Jennifer Markovsky, Ke'Arre Stewart and Garrett Swasey – as well as the nine other people who were injured in this attack and the employees and patients of Planned Parenthood whose lives will be forever changed by what they experienced.
You might have heard of a bill making its way through congress called the American Security Against Foreign Enemies Act of 2015, or "American SAFE Act of 2015." Despite the catchy title, the bill has little to do with safety. It actually creates barriers against the most vulnerable people seeking safety in the U.S. Unfortunately, the bill has already passed the House and is headed to the Senate soon. We're calling on Senator King and Senator Collins to take a stand against this discriminatory bill and vote no on the "SAFE" Act.
The ACLU of Maine filed a lawsuit this week to ensure that all women, regardless of their income, are able to exercise their constitutional right to choose whether and when to have children. The lawsuit challenges a Maine regulation that denies coverage for abortion for eligible women who use Medicaid services.
Following Gov. LePage's misguided calls to bar Syrian refugees from coming to Maine, the ACLU issued the following statement. You can read the responses of ACLU affiliates around the nation here.
The ACLU calls upon all policy makers, at the federal and state levels, to affirm the need to welcome Syrian refugees who are fleeing the brutality of ISIS. Refugee admission is a federal matter, reflecting our values as a nation.
The Maine Law Court heard oral arguments this week in a case pertaining to the health effects of Central Maine Power’s “smart” electric meters. These meters also happen to be detailed information-gathering devices.