Each Friday, we’ll bring you updates on the latest civil liberties news from Maine and the nation.
Let’s Hear It For the ACLU of Indiana
Americans from coast to coast, and indeed, in the middle of our country, are demanding that all couples deserve the freedom to marry. Yesterday, the ACLU of Indiana filed a lawsuit on behalf of 15 individuals who have experienced discrimination because of the law banning legal marriage between same-sex couples. Kenneth J. Falk, ACLU of Indiana legal director stated, "By failing to allow or recognize marriage between same-sex couples in Indiana, the state is perpetuating a discriminatory practice that cannot be squared with the Constitution."
The lawsuit seeks to stop the state from enforcing the current discriminatory law, to require the state to recognize marriages that have taken place outside of Indiana and to allow same-sex couples to wed in Indiana.
More information about the suit can be found here: https://www.aclu.org/lgbt-rights/midori-fujii-et-al-v-indiana-governor-e...
Anti-fracking Activist Barred by Cabot Oil & Gas
Why is 62-year-old Vera Scroggins barred from traveling through over 40 percent of her hometown in Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania? Scroggins happens to be a prominent opponent to energy drilling – and in particular, the controversial process of hydraulic fracturing. Cabot Oil & Gas requested a court injunction preventing her from accessing the 200,000 acres in Susquehanna that Cabot owns and leases for gas extraction. Under this injunction, Scroggins in unable to access her grocery store, friends homes, and her hospital.
Scroggins will return to court on March 24th with the goal of overturning the injunction with the ACLU of Pennsylvania on her side. Legal director of the Pennsylvania ACLU stated that Cabot does not have the right to tell private property owners who may come on their land. It’s a matter of freedom of speech and freedom to travel.
Read more about the unconstitutional injunction here: http://stateimpact.npr.org/pennsylvania/2014/03/10/court-bars-anti-frack...
Privacy Rights are Human Rights
In light of the findings of privacy rights violations by the National Security Agency, both national and worldwide, the American Civil Liberties Union today released a report titled Privacy in the Digital Age. This report will assist the United Nations Human Rights Committee in reviewing U.S. compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. With this report, the ACLU will be urging the Human Rights Committee to issue a new interpretation of Article 17 in covenant that fully protects the privacy of everyone from governments everywhere.
Read this blog by Steven Watt, senior staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union’s Human Rights Program, which calls for the United States to regain its human rights leadership by recognizing privacy as a human right.
Special thanks to Eleanor Snyder of Islesboro High School for her assistance in researching and writing this blog.