By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
On Friday, December 2, 2016 the Executive Director of the ACLU of Alabama, Susan Watson passed away from a short illness.
On Friday, ACLU Alabama announced in a statement:
“It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of our Executive Director, Susan Watson. Words are not enough under these circumstances to express our grief. We are thankful for your support during this difficult time. We remain committed to Susan’s vision of the advancement of civil liberties in Alabama.”
Susan Watson was appointed Executive Director of the ACLU of Alabama on April 15, 2013.
Watson previously served as the Regional Director of the ACLU of Florida.
Watson made headlines in her time in Alabama by fighting to overturn Alabama’s defense of marriage laws and for opposing new Pro-Life legislation in the Alabama Legislature. While a number of Pro-Life bills were passed into law by the legislature over Watson’s objections, they have all been blocked to this point by the federal courts. Similarly, efforts to legalize same-sex marriage in Alabama never found favor with the voters of Alabama or with the Alabama legislature, however, it become legalized nationwide through a ruling by the Supreme Court.
Prior to coming to Alabama, Watson opposed Florida Governor Jeb Bush’s voucher plan in the 1990s. In 2000, she and others revitalized a long dormant ACLU chapter in Pensacola. Watson served as the first Panhandle Chapter Chair. Susan also served on the State Board of Directors of the ACLU of Florida and held several positions on the Board’s Executive Committee. In June of 2005 Watson became the director of the Northwest region of the ACLU of Florida.
(Original reporting by North Florida’s WUWF NPR 88.1 FM contributed to this report.)