Published September 14, 2012
The Ku Klux Klan is best known as the far-right, white supremacist group with a history of inflicting violence on minorities. So government officials were naturally concerned when the KKK wanted to participate in Georgia's "Adopt-a-Highway" program. While it's nice that the KKK is interested in cleaning highways, officials were concerned because participants in the program also get a road named after them. "A state road sign with 'KKK' on it would betray our values and would rightly offend the vast majority of Georgians," Brian Robinson, spokesman for Georgia Governor Nathan Deal, told Reuters.
The KKK thought that they were being treated unfairly, and has now found help from an unlikely place: the American Civil Liberties Union, the civil rights group that actively fights for racial justice.
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Despite the two groups' differences, the ACLU has filed a lawsuit against the state of Georgia on the KKK's behalf. "The fundamental right to free speech is not limited to only those we agree with or groups that are inoffensive. The government cannot pick or choose who is protected by the Constitution," Debbie Seagraves, executive director of the ACLU Foundation of Georgia, told the Associated Press. "There will always be speech and groups conveying hateful messages that are distasteful to some. That is why the First Amendment protects free speech for all."
This isn't the first time that the KKK has fought for free speech. In 2005, a federal court ruled that Missouri had no right to ban the KKK from its own Adopt-a-Highway program, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported.