ACLU Blog of Rights

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The Continued Push for LGBT Rights in the South and Beyond

July 1, 2014

Daniel Tilley
S
taff Attorney, ACLU of Florida

This post originally appeared on the American Constitution Society blog.

By now it is cliché to observe that the advancements in equality for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community in the past decade or so have been simply astounding. The victories have indeed been incredible, manifested not just in the securing of formal legal equality in some legislative and regulatory bodies but also dramatic shifts in public opinion and major wins in courts and administrative agencies (and, most recently, in President Obama’s announcement of a forthcoming executive order banning workplace discrimination against LGBT employees of federal contractors). This is something to celebrate.

But the fight is far from over, and complacency is not an option. The triumphs of the past few years have created a sense of inevitability that can serve as a useful advocacy tool but that may also blind us to the challenges that remain ahead. Some things—like marriage for same-sex couples—really are inevitable (and I am proud to be the lead counsel in the ACLU of Florida’s case challenging Florida’s ban on recognizing marriages of same-sex couples); but marriage equality is only inevitable because countless people have been working for decades (and are continuing to work) to make it so. While the marriage equality movement will hopefully be sliding into home plate in one of the next two Supreme Court terms, there remains a long, hard road ahead on other issues. Continue Reading »

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  • Posted July 1, 2014 at 1:47 pm

To Fix Escambia County’s Jail, We Have to Fix the System

June 26, 2014 — Sara Latshaw
North Florida Regional Director, ACLU of Florida

This blog post originally appeared as an op-ed in the Pensacola News-Journal.

Oftentimes, it takes a tragedy to draw our attention to inadequacies and failures that have been long simmering just below the surface. And when the time comes to rebuild after a tragedy, if we lose the opportunity to also fix those long-festering problems, we do ourselves a disservice.

As we near two months since the tragedy at the Escambia County Jail that killed and injured inmates and staff, our community must take stock of our jail’s controversial history and do what we can to change it.

Even before the lethal explosion, the jail was not where it should be. Continue Reading »

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Internal Police Emails Show Efforts to Hide Use of Cell Phone Tracking

June 20, 2014 — By Maria Kayanan
Associate Legal Director, ACLU of Florida

As we suspected, local law enforcement officials are borrowing cell phone tracking devices known as “stingrays” from the U.S. Marshals Service—and police are deliberately concealing the use of stingrays in court documents submitted to judges in criminal investigations.

The ACLU of Florida released a set of internal police emails obtained today through a public records request with the subject line “Trap and Trace Confidentiality.” The documents confirm that local police, working on state court matters, hide behind the sham cloak of the U.S. Marshals’ office to keep the information about stingray use out of court files—and beyond even a court’s custody and reach. Continue Reading »

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The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is our nation's guardian of liberty, working daily in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to all people in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States.

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