Each Friday, we’ll bring you updates on the latest civil liberties news from Maine and the nation.

Bill for Equal Pay Blocked by Senate

As you may have read in Samaa’s blog earlier this week, Tuesday was Equal Pay Day. Equal Pay Day is 14 weeks into the year, symbolizing the additional amount of time that the average women in the U.S. have to work in order to earn what the average man earns in one year.

President Obama chose this day to (as promised in his State of the Union address) sign two orders to help close the wage gap for federal employees – one of which required federal contractors to provide data about employee wages, broken down by both race and gender.

Unfortunately the equal pay movement momentum was not carried into Wednesday. The Senate blocked the Paycheck Fairness Act – an act that would close loopholes in the 1968 Equal Pay Act and make employers more accountable for gender-based wage discrimination. 

Read more about the ACLU’s reaction to the Senate’s blocking of the Paycheck Fairness Act here.

Massachusetts ACLU sues FBI and U.S. Attorney in Boston

The ACLU of Massachusetts is calling into question the federal government’s collaboration with Massachusetts state and local police throughout the investigation of the Boston Marathon bombing. The ACLU of MA filed a lawsuit Thursday against the FBI and the U.S. Attorney in Boston for failing to provide documents about a joint terrorism unit involved in the investigation of the incident, including a Florida man allegedly linked to one of the bombers.

"The attack on the Boston Marathon and its aftermath have highlighted the need for the people of Massachusetts to know more about how federal agents and state and local police work together, and whether these collaborations are efficient and effective," said ACLU of Massachusetts staff attorney Jessie Rossman. "The thousands of investigations conducted by the so-called Joint Terrorism Task Force failed to thwart last year's attack on the Boston Marathon, and a joint interrogation by Massachusetts State Police and the FBI resulted in the death of Ibragim Todashev, who might have had critical information about both the bombing and a Waltham triple murder. The fact that the FBI and U.S. Attorney Ortiz have not responded to our requests for these public records leaves us no choice but to file this lawsuit today."

Read the ACLU of MA’s press release here.

Gay Couple Wins ‘Illegal Wedding’ Contest

 Read more about the Houston winners of the ACLU's My Big Gay Illegal Wedding, Jeff Robertson and Jeremiah Pyant.