Rhode Island Affiliate, American Civil Liberties Union



Marriage Equality

Meet five inspiring Rhode Island couples in this video produced by GLAD and MERI. Hear them talk about their love and commitment to each other and their families, and the need for marriage equality.

Racial Profiling Awareness MonthRacial Profiling

The RI ACLU, along with more than a dozen other local organizations, is working to bring attention to the critical problem of racial profiling in the state of Rhode Island.

Equality for all is one of the basic foundations of the United States, and the Rhode Island Affiliate strives to protect that right by fighting discriminationto ensure that all people are treated justly, no matter their race, sex, sexual orientation, economic status, disability, or any other protected status.

Court Cases

Current and recent discrimination lawsuits include:

Take a look at some of our other discrimination court cases.


During the 2012 legislative session, the Rhode Island ACLU continued to work toward the passage of a comprehensive racial profiling prevention bill and continued to seek equal rights for LGBT Rhode Islanders and women.  The General Assembly also passed the "Homeless Bill of Rights," to protect people from employment, housing, and voting discrimination, among others, solely because of their homeless status.  This is the first bill of this kind in the entire country.

In 2011, the Affiliate fought against the Corvese Amendment, a broad exemption to the civil union law that amendment allows any religiously-affiliated or connected organization, including those receiving government funds, to discriminate against individuals who are partners in civil unions.

In the 2010 session the Affiliate continued to push for marriage equality and a comprehensive anti-racial profiling bill, and worked with Immigrants United to pass immigrant-friendly anti-discrimination bills dealing with everything from housing to workers’ rights to interpreter services.

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Discrimination in the News

January 16, 2013 - ACLU Delivers Testimony in Support of Same Sex Marriage Bill

Last night, in an overflowing State House, the ACLU of Rhode Island delivered testimony in support of 13-H 5015, the same-sex marriage bill. This testimony asserted yet again that Rhode Island's civil union law never even purported to mirror the protections that are available to married couples. Civil unions create a separate and second class status, and an amendment that was attached to the 2011 legislation undermined rights same-sex couples already had under Rhode Island law and discriminated against same-sex couples in very real ways. History has taught us that "separate but equal" simply does not work. The ACLU of Rhode Island continues to urge the legislature to pass full marriage equality for all Rhode Islanders.

November 21, 2012 - Groups Join in Opposition to Providence Nuisance Property Ordinance

September 18, 2012 - ACLU Issues Statement in Response to Father-Daughter Dance Controversy

August 20, 2012 - Gay and Lesbian Couples Say “I Don’t” to State’s Civil Union Law

June 25, 2012 - Rhode Island ACLU Issues Statement in Response to Supreme Court Decision in Arizona vs. United States

June 14, 2012 - ACLU Appeals FBI Stonewalling About Controversial Ethnic Mapping Program

May 23, 2012 - ACLU Calls Barrington Non-Resident Student Tuition Rate Proposal Illegal

May 2, 2012 - RI ACLU Says Latest Statistics Show State's Civil Union Law Remains a "Complete Failure"

February 20, 2012 - RI ACLU Says Latest Statistics Show State's Civil Union Law Remains an "Embarrassment"

February 23, 2011 - ACLU Applauds Providence Efforts to Opt Out of "Secure Communities" Program

February 22, 2011 - Community and Youth Groups Call for Comprehensive Racial Profiling Bill

February 10, 2011 - Human Rights Commission Finds “Probable Cause” That CVS Application Form is Discriminatory

January 19, 2011 - ACLU Complaint Against Department of Human Services for Lack of Adequate Interpreter Services is Favorably Resolved

November 30, 2010 - RI ACLU Files Discrimination Complaint Against State Police for Lack of Adequate Language Interpreter Services

April 20, 2010 - Report Shows State’s Food Stamp Processing Has Improved, But Delays Persist for the Neediest Families

February 8, 2010 - Appeals Court Upholds Dismissal Of "Racial Profiling" Lawsuit Against State Police

January 7, 2010 - Discrimination Complaint Against North Kingstown Shipbuilder Resolved

January 6, 2010 - ACLU Applauds General Assembly Override of Anti-Civil Liberties Vetoes

November 9, 2009 - Agency Finds Probable Cause to Believe That North Kingston Shipbuilder Has Violated Anti-Bias Laws

October 21, 2009 - ACLU Files Discrimination Complaint Against CVS

October 13, 2009 - Favorable Settlement Reached in Suit Over Food Stamp Delays

July 27, 2009 - R.I. ACLU Commemorates 30th Anniversary of Important Women's Rights Court Decision

July 6, 2009 -- State Sued Over Food Stamp Delays

June 30, 2009 -- ACLU Report to United Nations Documents Racial Profiling In Rhode Island and Across Country

May 11, 2009 -- Groups Announce Campaign Against Racial Profiling

February 26, 2009 -- Key Witness in Wyatt Case Will Not Be Deported Before Trial

February 19, 2009 -- RI ACLU Criticizes Central Falls’ Proposal to Sell Wyatt Detention Center

February 9, 2009 -- RI ACLU Files Lawsuit on Behalf of Family of Wyatt Center Detainee Who Died in Custody

January 7, 2009 -- RI ACLU Files Discrimination Complaint Against North Kingstown Shipbuilder

December 31, 2008 -- ACLU To Appeal Dismissal of "Racial Profiling" Lawsuit Against State Police

October 29. 2008 -- ACLU Sues East Providence for Discriminatory Treatment of Job Applicant Due to Disability

December 17, 2007 -- ACLU Files Civil Rights Complaint Against DHS For Lack of Adequate Interpreter Services, Violation of Consent Agreement

July 26, 2007-- Blacks and Hispanics Disproportionately Jailed in Rhode Island, National Report Indicates

July 16, 2007 -- Settlement Reached with General Treasurer on Suit Over Rules Denying Compensation to Certain Victims of Violent Crimes

January 8, 2007 -- ACLU Files "Racial Profiling" Lawsuit Against State Police for Illegal Detention of Guatemalans in I-95 Stop

January 4, 2007 -- ACLU Report Documents Contained Racial Profiling Problems in Rhode Island; Calls for Changes in Police Practices

December 27, 2006 -- General Treasurer Sued Over Rules Denying Compensation to Certain Victims of Violent Crimes

November 30, 2006 -- ACLU Files Open Records Suit Against State Police to Obtain "Racial Profiling" Videotape

July 27, 2006 -- Groups Denounce General Treasurer Rules Denying Compensation to Certain Victims of Violent Crimes

August 8, 2005 -- Statistics on Traffic Stop Racial Profiling Show Backsliding, ACLU Report Finds

May 23, 2005 -- ACLU Sues Over DMV Driver's License Procedures for Immigrants

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128 Dorrance Street Suite 220    Providence, RI 02903  dot  Phone (401) 831-7171       Fax (401) 831-7175     riaclu@riaclu.org

Thiswww.riaclu.org is the website of the Rhode Island Affiliate, ACLU and the ACLU Foundation of Rhode Island. 

Learn more about the distinction between these two components of the RI ACLU.