Free Speech

Free SpeechThe ACLU protects freedom of speech, assembly, association, petition, and press. We often defend messages we vehemently disagree with. Most famously, we represented the neo-Nazis who sought to hold a rally in Skokie in the 1970s. More recently, we advocated for the right of a high school student to wear to school a tee-shirt stating “be happy not gay.” Over time, the best way to protect speech that we like is to protect speech we don’t like. We work to ensure that leafleting and demonstrations are accommodated on government properties, such as Chicago’s federal plaza, the McCormick Place convention center, and sidewalks and parks throughout the state. We protect the rights of government employees and contractors to support, or refrain from supporting, political candidates. We oppose spying by federal and local agencies on groups and individuals based on their lawful political and religious beliefs, practices, and associations.

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