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This Week in Civil Liberties (01/17/2014)

Rekha Arulanantham,
Litigation Fellow,
ACLU National Prison Project
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January 17, 2014

Bonnie Raines broke into and stole every document from which government agency office in 1971?

What provokes the “take off your shoes and get back to the kitchen?” outrage when we talk about women’s rights?

True or false: in 2012, over 50 percent of LGBT and HIV-related homicide victims were Black and over 50 percent were transgender.

What U.S. state used an untested combination of two drugs in the execution of Dennis McGuire yesterday?

Multiple choice: what bill would provide married same-sex couples with certainty that the federal government will recognize their marriages (regardless of where in the country they live in or move to), and what bills would discriminate against legally married same-sex couples?

  1. Marriage and Religious Freedom Act
  2. State Marriage Defense Act
  3. Respect for Marriage Act

I Broke Into an FBI Office and Took Every Document. Here’s Why.

Last week, Bonnie Raines publicly revealed her identity as a member of the Citizens’ Commission to Investigate the FBI, a group that in 1971 broke into an FBI office in Media, Pennsylvania, took documents proving that the FBI had been spying on innocent Americans, and shared them with the public. Since Bonnie came forward, she has been repeatedly asked the following: Why would you, a young mother of three, do something so dangerous and with such serious consequences, and put the lives of your children at risk?

Sexism Is Alive and Well on the Interwebs

In documenting how she was stalked and threatened online, Amanda Hess, a feminist journalist, shines an unflinching spotlight on the ugly misogyny that too often pervades online forums, making women feel unwelcome or even unsafe just for speaking our minds. Hess’ article (along with this thoughtful response from an involved father who got bashed for merely combing his daughter’s hair one morning) reveals something about what women’s rights activists up against—about extreme views that are still prevalent, but generally ignored, and that often underlie a lot of much tamer sounding rhetoric.

CeCe is Free But So Much Work Remains

CeCe McDonald is was released on Monday from the Minnesota men’s prison after serving 19 months of a 41 month sentence stemming from her controversial manslaughter conviction.

New Execution Methods Can’t Disguise Same Old Death Penalty Problems

Ohio made history yesterday by becoming the first state to use the two-drug combination of midazolam and hydromorphone in the execution of Dennis McGuire. State officials decided to use this experimental combination of powerful sedatives and painkillers after supplies of approved execution drugs ran dry. These shortages have caused other states to begin using experimental and downright dangerous methods to carry out executions.

DOMA Zombies Surface in Congress

Since the Supreme Court’s landmark Windsor ruling last June striking down the core of the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act” (DOMA), the federal government has moved, with commendable speed, in a myriad of areas to extend recognition to the marriages of same-sex couples. A recently introduced bill in Congress, deceptively titled the “State Marriage Defense Act”, would prevent the federal government from recognizing, for federal purposes, the legal marriages of same-sex couples if they live in or move to a state without the freedom to marry. This bill is just the latest attempt to get around the Windsor ruling by not so cleverly trying to reincarnate DOMA in a different guise.

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