ACLU-EM Defends KKK's Right to Free Speech

September 7, 2012

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: (212) 549-2666; media@aclu.org

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO – Yesterday, the American Civil Liberties Union of Eastern Missouri filed a federal lawsuit against the City of Cape Girardeau on behalf of the Traditionalist American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan (TAK). TAK members had planned to place handbills on the windshields of parked cars on Sept. 28, until they discovered this is considered a crime by the City of Cape Girardeau.

“Our clients describe themselves as “a White Patriotic Christian organization’ that ‘believes in the preservation of the White race and the United States Constitution as it was originally written’,” says Tony Rothert, legal director of the ACLU-EM. “They’ve found that distributing leaflets is an effective way to recruit new members.”

“Defending the rights of groups that the government tries to censor because of their viewpoints is at the heart of what the First Amendment and the ACLU stand for, even when the viewpoints are not popular,” says Brenda L. Jones, executive director of the ACLU-EM. “If we don’t protect the free speech rights of all, we risk having the government arbitrarily decide what is, or is not, acceptable speech.”

The ACLU-EM is a non-partisan, not-for-profit membership organization dedicated to the preservation and promotion of civil liberties in eastern Missouri. Located in St. Louis, the ACLU-EM is an affiliate of the national ACLU.

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