ACLU Blog of Rights


The Beginning of the End for Marriage Discrimination in Florida

July 21, 2014

Howard Simon
Executive Director, ACLU of Florida

Prompted by the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in the ACLU’s case on behalf of Edie Windsor that struck down the heart of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the law prohibiting the federal government from recognizing marriages of same-sex couples, more than 20 courts have issued rulings against similar state prohibitions.

Last week, Monroe County Circuit Court Judge Luis M. Garcia declared part of Florida’s ban unconstitutional. More cases are in the pipeline, including the ACLU’s case in federal court seeking what Judge Garcia’s opinion does not address: recognition of marriages performed in other states.

The flurry of activity across the country involves battles over the meaning of the due process and equal protection clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment — added to the Constitution after the Civil War to prevent states from depriving any person of fundamental rights.

Continue Reading »

  • Posted July 21, 2014 at 2:11 pm

The Continued Push for LGBT Rights in the South and Beyond

July 1, 2014 — Daniel Tilley
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.

Continue Reading »

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 »

What is ACLU of Florida?

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.

Find a chapter near you

Much of our work is done by volunteers operating out of 16 local chapters across the state. Choose from the menu for meeting times and contact information for a chapter near you: