jacobs & payne
ACLU-NJ Executive Director
Deborah Jacobs &
Rep. Donald Payne in 2006

NEWARK — The ACLU of New Jersey is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of U.S. Rep. Donald Payne. New Jersey has lost a staunch defender of civil liberties in the state and the country. Throughout his distinguished career, Rep. Payne stood for causes that were not always popular – the true hallmark of a civil libertarian. He stood firm for his principles in voting against measures to make the Patriot Act permanent, to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman and to prohibit flag desecration.

“Rep. Payne was a true champion of the disaffected and the underrepresented populations of our country,” said ACLU-NJ Executive Director Deborah Jacobs. “He was a principled leader whose legacy will live on in the freedoms that we enjoy. We were proud to have Congressman Payne represent New Jersey and remain grateful for his many years of public service.”

"Donald Payne was a forward thinking civil libertarian in the Congress who voted against making the Patriot Act permanent and supported employment non-discrimination for the LGBT community and championed the reproductive rights of women," said Laura Murphy, Director of the ACLU’s Washington Legislative Office. "Overall he was one of our reliable and outspoken leaders on civil rights and civil liberties. We will miss his gracious and open demeanor in what has become a difficult and hyper-partisan environment in Washington."