ACLU Mourns Passing of Sen. Inouye

December 17, 2012 8:57 pm

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WASHINGTON – The ACLU mourns the passing of Sen. Daniel K. Inouye (D-HI) and sends its condolences to his family, friends, staff and the people of Hawaii.

Sen. Inouye was a champion of civil rights and civil liberties. He was a decorated soldier, who embodied passionate patriotism in his defense of American values in the United States Senate.

Some of his notable contributions to civil liberties include support for women’s rights and equal pay, support for the preservation of the Voting Rights Act, and support for civil rights laws that included persons with disabilities.

As the first Japanese-American in Congress and the first member of the U.S. House from Hawaii, he was a pioneer. He was also a trailblazer when it came to supporting LGBT equality. He was one of fourteen Senators who in 1996 voted against the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act” that discriminates against same-sex couples.

He was a tireless foe of discrimination. The ACLU joined him in his successful legislative battle to get reparations for those Japanese Americans who were wrongfully interned in government compounds during World War II. Sen. Inouye fought every iteration of proposed constitutional amendments to ban flag desecration – support that was particularly meaningful to the defense of free speech because of his military service.

Sen. Inouye’s presence in the United States Senate will be sorely missed.

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