Free Speech




Wednesday, February 1, 2012   

Tucson: Paul Barby, ACLU of Arizona Southern Chapter, at 520 299-3778 or; or
Alessandra Soler Meetze, ACLU of Arizona, at 602-773-6006 (office) or 602-301-3705 (cell) or

TUCSON –  Former judges, academic historians and elected officials from the City of Tucson will gather on February 12th to engage in an interactive discussion about the expansion of civil rights and liberties in Arizona over the past 100 years. 

“When the ACLU was founded in Arizona in 1959, there were laws prohibiting people of different races from marrying and banning the distribution of birth control information,” said Tod Zelickson, president of the ACLU of Arizona’s Southern Chapter. “But the ACLU has led the fight to expand civil rights and liberties throughout much of Arizona’s history and since those early days, the principles of due process of law, equal protection and separation of church and state have permeated our society and become enshrined in our state Constitution and laws.”

The public forum, which is hosted by the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona’s Southern Chapter in cooperation with the Second Saturday and Centennial Committees in Tucson, will be from 2 to 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, February 12th at the Scottish Rite Cathedral, 160 S. Scott, Tucson, Arizona.  The event is free and open to the public. For more information, call Paul Barby at 520-299-3778.

Panelists are:

• University of Arizona Law School Dean Emeritus Charles E. Ares, who represented the ACLU of Arizona’s first client, Henry Oyama, a native Tucson resident of Japanese descent who, along with his Caucasian fiancée Mary Ann Jordan, was refused a marriage license by the Pima County Clerk.  Ares was instrumental in challenging Arizona’s discriminatory miscegenation law and securing an injunction requiring the Pima County Clerk to issue the marriage license;

• Retired Arizona Chief Justice Stanley Feldman, who volunteered to handle cases on behalf of the ACLU in Arizona; 

• Former Tucson Mayor George Miller, who previously served on the board of ACLU of Arizona’s Southern Chapter;  and

• ACLU of Arizona Founding Board Member Cornelius Steelink, who served as a volunteer during the 1960s and 1970s who lobbied the Arizona Legislature to repeal the miscegenation law, create public defender offices in Maricopa and Pima Counties and ratify the constitutional amendment abolishing the poll tax. 

The mission of the ACLU of Arizona is to protect the civil liberties contained in the state and federal constitutions through litigation, legislative and public education. The ACLU is funded primarily through private donations and offers its services at no cost to the public. The ACLU does not accept any government funds. Nearly 3,000 ACLU members live in Southern Arizona. They’re represented by volunteers who serve on the board of the Southern Chapter of the ACLU of Arizona. The ACLU of Arizona is an affiliate of the national ACLU, which boasts a membership of 550,000 with approximately 7,000 members and supporters in Arizona.
For more on ACLU’s accomplishments over the past five decades, visit: