Protecting free speech means protecting a free press, the democratic process, diversity of thought, and so much more. The ACLU nationally has worked since 1920 to ensure that freedom of speech is protected for everyone.
Almost a century later, these battles have taken on new forms. We at the ACLU of Indiana have recently protected the right to have political yard signs, open discourse and free speech in schools; all of which are a foundation of a free democracy.
Free speech can, like religious freedom, be used as a weapon. While the right to speak freely is given to all, it is not an excuse for violence.
Lee Rowland, Senior Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project put it well when she said that the First Amendment “protects the most heart-swelling markers of our democracy: the right to speak our values, to have a press free from censorship, to gather en masse in the streets and speak truth to power. Our Constitution protects hateful speech, yes — but on the theory that truly free speech means the best ideas will win out."