This case concerns whether organizations can be required to submit a pledge to oppose prostitution in order to participate in a federal program designed to combat HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria internationally. In 2003, Congress enacted the United States Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria Act – a law designed to promote a public-private partnership in the international effort to combat HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. With certain notable exceptions, organizations seeking federal funds are required to pledge to oppose prostitution, even if the grant they are seeking has nothing to do with prostitution. In an amicus brief filed on April 2, 2013, the ACLU and NYCLU argue that the anti-prostitution pledge violates core First Amendment principles that prohibit the government from compelling private belief.
The U.S. Supreme Court heard argument on April 22, 2013. In a 6-2 ruling issued on June 20, 2013, the Supreme Court held that the government may not use funding and the threat of the loss of funding as a method for the regulation of speech and policies of non-governmental organizations. The majority ruled that the law's funding provisions required organizations to accept the beliefs of the government, which infringes on their First Amendment rights.
U.S. Supreme Court, Case No. 12-10 (amicus)