The ACLU announces a settlement involving public breastfeeding law

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The ACLU of Rhode Island today announced a settlement in its case on behalf of Elizabeth Gooding who, in May 2017, sued the Ocean Community YMCA for violating her right to breastfeed in public.  Parties in the lawsuit have agreed to a resolution of all issues presented in the case, and filed a stipulation of dismissal today, Friday, December 8, 2017, after signing a confidential settlement agreement and release.

According to ACLU volunteer attorney H. Jefferson Melish, the settlement was “fair to all parties and recognizes the importance of the Rhode Island Breastfeeding in Public Places statute.”

Originally filed in Rhode Island Superior Court, the lawsuit claimed that the facility repeatedly prohibited Ms. Gooding – a mother of three and former YMCA member and employee – from breastfeeding her one-year-old infant in public, in violation of state anti-discrimination laws and a statute specifically allowing breastfeeding in public.  Rhode Island state law specifically protects the right of women who are openly breastfeeding to do so anywhere they are authorized to be.

A copy of the ACLU’s original complaint is available here:


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About ACLU of Rhode Island 23 Articles
The American Civil Liberties Union is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to upholding and protecting the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Founded in the 1920s by a small group of devoted civil libertarians, today the ACLU is comprised of more than 500,000 members and more than fifty affiliates and chapters nationwide.