Gov. Walker, Don’t Use Free Speech as a Scapegoat
Governor signals he will sign bill protecting racist team names and mascots
The ACLU of Wisconsin is urging Gov. Scott Walker to veto a bill that would protect racist team names and mascots.
Yesterday Walker signaled he would sign the bill, which would roll back a law passed in 2010. That law requires the state Department of Public Instruction to hold a hearing and decide whether to allow schools to keep race-based mascots and team names whenever it receives a complaint.
If Walker signs the bill, it will be much more difficult for the state to object to racist team names and mascots.
Walker has until tomorrow to approve or veto the bill. He has signaled that he will sign it, citing the First Amendment and a desire not to impinge on free speech.
Today, ACLU of Wisconsin executive director Chris Ahmuty issued this statement:
“This is a bogus appropriation of the First Amendment. The governor apparently does not understand that the First Amendment protects citizens from government censorship. Government programs are not allowed to offend, harm or otherwise discriminate against citizens on the basis of the First Amendment. The First Amendment simply doesn’t apply when it’s the government taking action.
School team names, mascots, logos and all that go along with them are the responsibility of the public school district. It’s highly likely they are discriminatory. If the public school district doesn’t change them, it is necessary for the Department of Public Instruction to do so.
Why would a public school district want to harm some of its students? Free speech is no justification.”
The ACLU of Wisconsin Foundation is a non-profit, non-partisan, private organization whose 7,000 members support its efforts to defend the civil rights and liberties of all Wisconsin residents. For more on the ACLU of Wisconsin, visit our website, like us onFacebook or follow us on Twitter at @ACLUofWisconsin and @ACLUMadison.
Mentioned in This Press Release
Recent Press Releases by American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin - Page 3
Statement from Chris Ahmuty, ACLU of Wisconsin Executive Director
The U.S. Supreme Court today stayed an appeals court order that had allowed Wisconsin's voter ID law to take effect.
Supreme Court Lets Stand Four Appeals Court Decisions Requiring States to Allow Same-Sex Couples to MarryOct 6th, 2014 by American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin
Paves Way for the Freedom to Marry Nationwide
The American Civil Liberties Union today filed a motion asking the U.S. Supreme Court to halt Wisconsin's voter ID law.
The full Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals today declined to rehear a three-judge panel's order reinstating Wisconsin's voter ID law prior to the midterm election
The Attorney General of Wisconsin appealed the decisions in the marriage equality case Wolf v. Walker to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals today upheld the district court decision that the discriminatory amendment to the Wisconsin state constitution preventing same-sex couples from marrying is unconstitutional.
New statewide marriage equality coalition to advocate for the freedom to marry for same-sex couples in Wisconsin
Recognizes injunctions must be clear and narrow when speech involved.
Attorneys for the ACLU filed a motion asking Judge Barbara Crabb to vacate the stay she entered and allow marriages for same-sex couples to continue.
Couples Left in Limbo While Decision Striking Down Ban on Marriage for Same-Sex Couples is Put on Hold