The ACLU of RI has a long history of defending women’s rights and promoting gender equality. We’ve got a long way to go, but in the spirit of celebrating progress, here’s a look at six cases that show how far we’ve come:

  • 1975 - Our lawsuit prompted a Rhode Island court to rule that girls couldn’t be barred from playing in the Little League.  (Fortin v. Darlington Little League)
  • 1979 - We successfully defended a married woman’s right to use her birth name on her driver’s license and motor vehicle registration. (Traugott v. Petit)
  • 1984 - We successfully challenged a RI law requiring women to notify their husband before they could obtain an abortion. (Planned Parenthood v. Board of Medical Review)
  • 1986 - Our lawsuit led a federal court to strike down a Health Department requirement that women provide information about their menstrual cycle prior to obtaining a birth certificate for their child. (Deleiris v. Scott)
  • 1989 - Because of our work, a Rhode Island court struck down a Health Department policy denying separated married women the right to give their children the surname of their choice. (Virella v. Scott)
  • 2003 - We successfully challenged a law exempting North Smithfield from anti-discrimination laws – on the books because they wanted to ensure an all-male (and all-white) fire department. (Melendez v. Town of North Smithfield)

Here’s celebrating a woman’s right to play baseball, choose her own name and put out fires!