ACLU-NH's Double Standard on Freedom of Speech - Granite Grok

ACLU-NH’s Double Standard on Freedom of Speech

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Seven years ago, the ACLU-NH lobbied for the Buffer Zone law which allows New Hampshire abortion facilities to designate up to 25 feet of the public sidewalk and street outside their facilities as no-free-speech zones.

A few weeks after Governor Maggie Hassan signed the bill into law, a unanimous Supreme Court declared an almost identical law in Massachusetts as unconstitutional in McCullen v. Coakley.

Related: Mayor Craig and the NH ACLU Agree: You Can’t Impose Buffer Zones on Public Sidewalks

Every two years, a bill is filed to repeal the unconstitutional Buffer Zone law, the latest being HB430, but these bills never make it past the legislature to Governor Chris Sununu’s desk. In all those years, ACLU-NH has never done anything to support these repeal bills. Now, suddenly, the ACLU-NH is very concerned about freedom of speech in New Hampshire.

In Commentary: What kind of state do you want to be, New Hampshire? ACLU-NH lobbyist Jeanne Hruska writes about HB544, which would ban the “propagation of divisive concepts” by those receiving state-funded contracts.

Hruska says that New Hampshire is “a state that defended free speech” but now “this legislature is suddenly pro-censorship.” She says “I do not think that legislation to censor speech…reflects New Hampshire.” She says our state is being transformed “from one that legislates liberty to one that merely uses it as a bumper sticker.”

Her conclusion:

The toxicity of Washington has finally reached Concord, and it’s not a good look, New Hampshire. This obsession with culture wars, on censoring speech, and targeting civil rights, it’s ugly. It makes our state look abysmal.

I agree that the situation for free speech is ugly in New Hampshire, but the ACLU-NH are the ones making it ugly. They helped to take away our civil liberties by lobbying to pass a serious infringement on our freedom of speech and doing nothing to repeal it.

The Buffer Zone is such a bad law, that the almost identical Massachusetts law was ruled unconstitutional by all nine Supreme Court justices including the ACLU-NH’s beloved Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

It is time for the ACLU-NH to look in the mirror and confess to the great damage they have done to our freedom of speech in New Hampshire. They need to take action to help repeal the Buffer Zone law or admit they don’t really care about our civil liberties.

Learn more about the history of the buffer zone at Leaven for the Loaf and on Facebook at Stop the NH Buffer Zone.

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