Blog of Rights

Dena
Sher

Dena is legislative counsel at the ACLU Washington Legislative Office. Sher joined the ACLU in 2011, after four years as the the state legislative counsel with Americans United for Separation of Church and State. She worked with legislators, activists, and coalition partners on legislation, policy, and ballot initiatives that affected religious liberties, including school vouchers, healthcare refusals and religion in the workplace. She was also an Equal Justice Works fellow at Americans United. Her Equal Justice Works project investigated how programs funded under President Bush’s Faith-Based Initiative were implemented. Sher also worked on many of the cases litigated by AU during her fellowship.

Sher is a graduate of George Washington University Law School and Georgetown University.

 

Army Right to Halt 'Extremism' Training, Protect First Amendment Rights

Army Right to Halt 'Extremism' Training, Protect First Amendment Rights

By Dena Sher, ACLU Washington Legislative Office & Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 11:46am
This piece originally appeared at Defense One.
School vouchers aren’t just bad policy—they’re unpopular, too

School vouchers aren’t just bad policy—they’re unpopular, too

By Dena Sher, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 4:50pm

Year after year, PDK/Gallup releases an annual poll of public attitudes toward public schools, and it consistently finds that a majority of those polled oppose allowing students and parents to use taxpayer-funded vouchers to attend private schools.…

The Good, Bad, and Ugly for Religious Liberty and LGBT Rights in Defense Bill

The Good, Bad, and Ugly for Religious Liberty and LGBT Rights in Defense Bill

By Ian S. Thompson, ACLU Washington Legislative Office & Dena Sher, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 1:15pm

A sure sign of early summer in Washington, besides the sticky, humid air, is the House and Senate Armed Services Committees kicking off the annual process to pass the defense authorization bill – known as the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).…

Why ENDA's Religious Exemption Must Be Narrowed

Why ENDA's Religious Exemption Must Be Narrowed

By Ian S. Thompson, ACLU Washington Legislative Office & Dena Sher, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 10:21am

Remarkably, there are only 16 states that currently have workplace non-discrimination laws that are fully inclusive of LGBT people. This leaves LGBT people vulnerable to workplace discrimination in well over half of the country–an unacceptable situation…

Radically Wrong: Misstated Threats - Terrorism isn’t an American-Muslim Problem

Radically Wrong: Misstated Threats - Terrorism isn’t an American-Muslim Problem

By Dena Sher, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 4:50pm

Despite evidence to the contrary, the government continues to embrace a theory that adopting radical ideas is a first step toward terrorist violence. Based on this discredited model, "preventive" policies are being pursued, resulting in discrimination,…

Protecting Constitutional Principles — Even After Disasters

Protecting Constitutional Principles — Even After Disasters

By Dena Sher, ACLU Washington Legislative Office & Tyler Ray, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 3:47pm

This was cross-posted to the American Constitution Society blog. 

The impact Superstorm Sandy had on homes, businesses, nonprofits, and houses of worship across the Northeast was devastating. And still, in the wake of the storm, these…

The Sweeping License to Discriminate Hidden in the NDAA

The Sweeping License to Discriminate Hidden in the NDAA

By Dena Sher, ACLU Washington Legislative Office & Ian S. Thompson, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 1:58pm

With Congress having recently approved this year’s NDAA, we think it is important to draw attention to a provision (Section 533(a)(1)), which, though hidden away, is unprecedented, sweeping, and could invite dangerous claims of a right to discriminate against not just lesbian, gay, and bisexual service members, but also women, religious minorities, and in the provision of health care.

Obama Promised to Stop Government-Funded Discrimination.  Has He?

Obama Promised to Stop Government-Funded Discrimination. Has He?

By Dena Sher, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 3:51pm

Four years ago last month, then-candidate Barack Obama promised to ensure that religious organizations that receive government funds to provide social services abide by the Constitution and are not allowed to discriminate with government funding. …

A Hearing on a Hearing: Rep. Peter King Prioritizes Navel Gazing

A Hearing on a Hearing: Rep. Peter King Prioritizes Navel Gazing

By Devon Chaffee, Legislative Policy Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office & Dena Sher, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 3:12pm

Yesterday Peter King (R-NY), Chair of the House Homeland Security Committee, brought congressional navel gazing to a new level by holding a hearing on his past hearings that have singled out and perpetuated dangerous stereotypes about the American…

ENDA Is Good, Could Be Even Better

By Ian S. Thompson, ACLU Washington Legislative Office & Dena Sher, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 5:04pm

On Tuesday, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions held an important hearing on workplace discrimination experienced by those who are or perceived to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT). The hearing addressed…

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