The U.S. Supreme Court has interpreted the First Amendment’s protection of speech to extend well beyond speeches and books to virtually anything that the human creative impulse can produce. The First Amendment embodies the belief that in a free and democratic society, individual adults must be free to decide for themselves what to read, write, paint, draw, compose, see, and hear.
Provocative and controversial art and in-your-face entertainment frequently test our commitment to this belief. Why oppose censorship when scenes of murder dominate video entertainment, when works of art can directly insult peoples’ religious beliefs, and when pornography abounds on the Internet? Why not let the majority’s morality and taste dictate what others can look at or listen to?
The answer is simple and timeless: A free society is based on an individual’s right to decide what art they want—or do not want—to see. Once you allow the government to censor one person, it has the power to censor you or something you like. The ACLU advocates for the principle that free expression for ourselves requires free expression for others.
- News/Press ReleaseMarch 13, 2018
- Blog Post - Speak FreelyMarch 13, 2018
- News/Press ReleaseSeptember 18, 2015
- News/Press ReleaseJune 19, 2017
The Federal Trademark Office Won’t Protect Our Band’s Name, The Slants, Because It Says the Name Is Racist. We’re All Asian-American, By the Way.Blog Post - Speak FreelyJanuary 18, 2017
ACLU OF KY. SUIT ON BEHALF OF SONG LYRICS DEFENDANT JAMES EVANS RESULTS IN $60,000 JUDGMENT AGAINST DEFENDANTSNews/Press ReleaseAugust 8, 2016
- Legal DocumentJune 19, 2015
- Blog Post - Speak FreelyMay 21, 2015