The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) is shifting focus in its Cross v. Loudoun County School Board lawsuit after the board approved a transgender policy last week. On Monday, the ADF filed a request to amend its complaint with the court. The new complaint adds two more Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) teachers and focuses on a provision that requires all faculty and students to use a student’s preferred pronouns.
ADF Senior Counsel Tyson Langhofer said in a press release, “Loudoun County Public Schools is now requiring all teachers and students to deny truths about what it means to be male and female and is compelling them to call students by their chosen pronouns or face punishment. Public employees cannot be forced to contradict their core beliefs just to keep a job. Freedom — of speech and religious exercise—includes the freedom not to speak messages against our core beliefs.”
The ADF originally fired the lawsuit when LCPS teacher Tanner Cross was fired after speaking out against the proposed policy in a May school board hearing. As a result of the lawsuit, the Loudoun County Circuit Court ordered LCPS to reinstate Cross as part of a temporary injunction while the case, based on Cross’ right to free speech, went forward.
A judge hasn’t yet approved the amended complaint, but ADF wants to add Loudoun County High School history teacher Monica Gill and Smart’s Mill Middle School English teacher Kim Wright to the suit, and now wants an injunction blocking the requirement that faculty and staff use preferred pronouns, although the teachers are willing to use students’ preferred names.
Langhofer, who is also the Director of the ADF Center for Academic Freedom, told The Virginia Star, “A pronoun conveys meaning. Everybody understands the pronoun ‘he’ refers to a male person. And that communicates truth about who we are as humans. My clients believe that we’re created male and female and that cannot change. That’s biologically immutable and it doesn’t change based upon our feelings. When you are forced to use different pronouns whether it be calling a boy a girl, or all of these new made-up pronouns, that communicates a message about what somebody believes about gender identity and whether it’s different than biological sex.”
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