Wednesday, December 21, 2011

2011: The Year In Civil Liberties

It's been a very mixed year for we civil libertarians, with major victories and stunning defeats. On one hand, we're all happy to be out of Iraq - on the other, Gitmo is fast approaching its tenth year in business, and Congress has given the President nearly unchecked authority to detain or execute suspected terrorists. Don't Ask/Don't Tell died in 2011, and New York State doubled the number of LGBT Americans with full marriage rights, but Pennsylvania is once again considering a Constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. We've dramatically increased the number of Americans with access to decent health care, but Pennsylvanians may soon have to leave the state to get a safe and legal abortion. Through it all, we've been encouraged to see record numbers of Americans take to the streets to make their voices heard - and sickened to see them arrested, beaten, and pepper-sprayed for speaking out in a public forum.

See what I mean? Mixed year.

As we always are, the ACLU has been in the middle of most of these issues, as busy as ever in the courthouse and busier perhaps than ever before in Congress and state legislatures across the country. We've been so busy, in fact, that it's going to take us the rest of the year to tell you about it.

Over the next ten days, we'll review some of the highs and lows of 2011, to let you know what the ACLU has been doing for you - both in Pennsylvania and across the country - and to remind you why we need your support. In return, we hope you will consider becoming a card-carrying member (if you're not already), making a tax-deductible year-end contribution, or both - because if there's one thing we want you to know about our work, it's that we can't do it without you.

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