ANCA Joins Armenian Bar Association Led Coalition in Fighting Armenian Genocide Denial in Massachusetts

WASHINGTON–DC–The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) has joined with a broad coalition of civil rights organizations in filing an amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief in Massachusetts Federal District Court to oppose attempts by the Assembly of Turkish American Associations (ATAA) to mandate the inclusion of Armenian genocide denial material in Massachusetts’ genocide curriculum guide.

The coalition led by the Armenian Bar Association–also includes the Irish Immigration Center–the Jewish Alliance for Law and Social Action–and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

In support of the State of Massachusetts–the coalition filed its brief on March 8 urging the dismissal of the complaint filed by the ATAA–a lobbying group that actively denies the Armenian genocide and is calling for the inclusion of the ATAA website in a list of educational sources provided as part of a teacher’s guide on genocide education. The complaint also calls for the addition of other websites–including that of the Embassy of the Republic of Turkey–which the ATAA had lobbied to include in the guide. These website were disqualified from the guide because they denied the Armenian genocide–contradicting the Massachusetts statute that requires the teaching of the Armenian genocide.

In filing the brief–coalition members expressed their opposition to the inclusion of genocide denial material in Massachusetts’ curriculum guide and refuted allegations that plaintiffs’ free speech rights were violated. The brief argues–"This case is not about Plaintiffs’ ability to express themselves–to receive ideas–or to access information. Nothing in the Massachusetts Guide to Choosing and Using Curricular Materials on Genocide and Human Rights has altered those rights. Rather–this case involves [Massachusetts’] right as a government to express its own official views on matters of historical importance and their place in education and to choose the specific content of its own message." Citing judicial precedent–the brief noted that courts cannot compel state governmen’s to speak as plaintiffs demand: "The government is entitled to full control over its own speech–whether it speaks with its own voice or enlists private parties to convey its message–and the remedy for dissatisfaction with its choices is political rather than judicial."

To read the entire brief–visit: www.armenianbar.org/amicus/BriefofAmiciCuriae.pdf

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