The ACLU's origins date back to the First World War when its predecessor organization, the National Civil Liberties Bureau, provided legal aid to conscientious objectors during that war. But on this Veterans' Day, as the country honors those who have served in the military over the decades, it's worth noting that the ACLU of RI has also been involved in supporting the legal rights of veterans.
Veterans' Day seems an appropriate occasion for us to highlight a few examples of our lobbying activities in recent years in support of their rights in Rhode Island:
* We lobbied in support of legislation supporting the rights of veterans to be free from discrimination in housing. The bill passed in 2015.
* We have lobbied in support of legislation allowing veterans to qualify for important state benefits if they had been given a "less than honorable discharge" because of their sexual orientation.
* We lobbied in support of legislation allowing veterans to qualify for the use of medical marijuana to treat their Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. The bill passed in 2016.
* In a similar vein and in our most recent effort, we are currently fighting the state which is seeking to bar veterans from using medical marijuana for their health conditions while they are at the Veterans' Home.
The ACLU's defense of civil liberties is often misunderstood, but here in Rhode Island, we can't emphasize enough our proud record of defending the civil rights of all. As we honor the brave men and women who have served our country, the ACLU will continue to vigorously defend the rights and freedoms they fight for, including their own constitutional rights.