Free Speech

Freedom of speech is protected in the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights and is guaranteed to all Americans. The Supreme Court has written that this freedom is "the matrix, the indispensable condition of nearly every other form of freedom." The ACLU of Maryland recognizes that if one person can be silenced, all of us are at risk. That is why upholding free speech is a cornerstone of our work. 

Recent Activity - Legal cases

Montgomery County Pledge of Allegiance Harassment

Legal case, April 9, 2013

ACLU of Maryland defends Montgomery County student harassed for not standing for Pledge. Repeated violations demand systemic reform in County.


Chestertown blocks free speech in Town park

Legal case, September 17, 2012

ACLU asks Town to immediately halt enforcement of unconstitutional ordinance


Anne Arundel County Executive Leopold's "Enemies List"

Legal case, March 7, 2012

ACLU files public information requests, demands full investigation after County Executive is indicted.


LGBT censorship of Bel Air High School play

Legal case, November 2, 2011

The ACLU of Maryland urged Harford County Public School officials to allow a play to be staged as written and not censor a scene that features an LGBT storyline.


LGBT web filtering in Montgomery County

Legal case, October 24, 2011

The ACLU of Maryland advocated that the iBoss web filtering software being used by Montgomery County government unblock a filter falsely labeling LGBT websites as pornography.


Sharp v. BCPD

Legal case, August 30, 2011

Concerned that the Baltimore City Police Department routinely violates the First Amendment by threatening citizens who try to photograph or record police encounters, the ACLU of Maryland filed a lawsuit against BPD on behalf of Christopher Sharp.


Maryland State Police Spying on Peaceful Political Protest Groups

Legal case, June 12, 2008

Between March 2005 and May 2006, the Maryland State Police's Homeland Security and Intelligence Bureau undertook a campaign of infiltrating and monitoring peaceful political protest groups (from across the political spectrum) in Maryland, and falsely labeled activists in those groups as terrorists in state criminal intelligence databases.