Rhode Island has a religious freedom law that bears some similarity to an Indiana proposal, that is now raising controversy around the country. Rhode Island’s law drew little criticism when it passed more than 20 years ago.
Rhode Island ACLU director Steve Brown said Rhode Island’s religious freedom law was passed with broad support in the early 1990s. Brown said the law was a response to a US Supreme Court decision denying the right of Native Americans to use peyote in religious ceremonies.
The U.S. Court of Appeals in Boston Thursday will hear a case out of Rhode Island. It involves the 2009 detainment of a North Providence woman. The Rhode Island chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union says the woman was a naturalized citizen at the time.
Ada Morales sued federal immigration officials and Rhode Island’s head of prisons, claiming she was detained illegally when she was taken into custody and held for a day. Rhode Island ACLU Director Steve Brown said the detainment violated her rights to equal protection and freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures.
The Rhode Island chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union is filing a lawsuit against the Providence Police Department. The ACLU says the department violated the rights of two protesters outside a campaign fundraiser for Gina Raimondo.
Last year Shannah Kurland was arrested for refusing to move during a protest at Roger Williams Park against then-gubernatorial candidate Gina Raimondo. Kurland said she was moved so far away from the event, more than 250 feet, that her protest was ineffectual; violating her rights to free speech and public demonstration.
A University of Rhode Island student has sued a Rhode Island textile company for denying her an internship. The suit claims discrimination based on the student’s status as a medical marijuana cardholder.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Rhode Island is accusing the Department of Motor Vehicles of sharing personal information with a federal anti-terrorism database.
The ACLU says a document that appears to be leaked from the National Counter Terrorism Center shows Rhode Island is one of 15 states that shared driver’s license data with the organization. In 2013 the center collected more than 2,400 facial images from driver’s licenses from across the country.