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Court upholds the public's right to know about death penalty procedures

Today, the Circuit Court of Cole County agreed that the Missouri Department of Corrections broke the law by failing to honor a Sunshine Law request to disclose the name of the pharmacy that supplied the drugs it uses to administer the death penalty.

On May 15, 2014, the ACLU of Missouri, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and Chris McDaniel, a reporter, filed a lawsuit against the Missouri Department of Corrections for violating the Sunshine Law by withholding public information regarding the state’s recent executions, including the name of the pharmacy that supplied its lethal injection drugs. The court ruled that the Missouri law, which requires individual execution team members’ identities be kept confidential, does not permit the Department of Corrections to “define the execution team as it wishes, without limitation.”

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The U.S. Supreme Court today issued a sweeping and historic decision that affords gay and lesbian couples the same legal right to marry and recognition of their marriages as different-sex couples. The ruling invalidates discriminatory laws in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee upheld by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, and as a practical matter, requires all 50 states to allow same-sex couples to marry.

“The Supreme Court today welcomed same-sex couples fully into the American family. Gay and lesbian couples and our families may be at peace knowing that our simple request to be treated like everyone else – that is, to be able to participate in the dignity of marriage – has finally been granted,” said James Esseks, director of the ACLU’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and HIV Project. “Today’s historic victory comes on the backs of same-sex couples and advocates who have worked for decades to dismantle harmful stereotypes and unjust laws in the quest for equal treatment.”

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