2014 was a great year! But there is much, much more to do. In 2015 we will:
- Challenge religious refusals – the imposition of individual beliefs to deny services and health care to others who may or may not share those religious beliefs – across Illinois. We will be especially vigilant for the denial of services related to gay and lesbian weddings, as we have seen in other states. And, we are building public support to fix a flawed Illinois law that allows doctors, nurses and other health care providers to deny health care based on the providers' religious views. Illinois law must put patients first.
- Work to reduce mass incarceration in Illinois, including working to restore sanity to marijuana policy in Illinois. A national ACLU study revealed that under current policies, Illinois will spend $250 million next year to enforce marijuana laws, even as other states are moving toward legalization. It is time to fix these laws.
- Fix the unsanitary and dangerous conditions for the youth held within the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice. For decades, groups have complained about conditions in these facilities, writing reports and issuing press releases. The ACLU of Illinois went to court and won a consent decree that will result in real, meaningful change. We will continue to enforce these changes.
- Educate the public and legislators about the need to adjust Illinois law to recognize the right of people to make a whole series of choices at the end of life, including the ability to choose death with dignity. The recent case of Brittany Maynard – who had to move her family to Oregon to avail herself of that state's law – makes clear that we must work to establish this policy in Illinois.
- Confront dangerous anti-crime housing ordinances, now in place in more than 100 communities across Illinois, which adversely impact women who are the victims of domestic violence. These ordinances require landlords to evict anyone living in a home or apartment where the police have been called for suspicion of criminal activity, sometimes after only a few emergency calls. We have been working with women who have faced eviction after calling the police when an abusive boyfriend or spouse repeatedly violated a protection order and appeared at their homes. We must change these laws to protect the victims of crime.