Briefs Filed in Virginia Supreme Court in Case of Teacher Fired for Not Using Preferred Pronouns

The Alliance Defending Freedom has filed its opening brief in the Virginia Supreme Court in the case of Peter Vlaming, a teacher who was fired after he declined to use a student’s preferred pronouns. Seven other organizations filed briefs supporting Vlaming on Tuesday, including the Office of the Attorney General on behalf of the Commonwealth of Virginia.

“Under our Constitution, Virginians have an absolute right not to be forced to publicly disavow their sincerely held religious beliefs—and that applies equally to public-school teachers. Even on pure speech grounds, the government cannot force its employees to falsely express their agreement with controversial messages they don’t believe without identifying a compelling state interest that cannot be achieved through significantly less restrictive means,” the ADF brief states.

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Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Against Albemarle School Board over 2019 Anti-Racism Policy

Albemarle County Circuit Court Judge Claude Worrell said Friday he would dismiss a lawsuit against the Albemarle County School Board; in the lawsuit, a group of parents argued that anti-racist school policy required “the indoctrination of Albemarle students in an ideology that denigrates students—all students—based on their race.

“The policy violates students’ civil rights by treating them differently based on race and by compelling them to affirm and support ideas contrary to their deeply held moral and religious beliefs,” said a press release from the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), which is representing the plaintiffs.

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ADF Says College’s Settlement with Professor a ‘Victory for Free Speech’

The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) is celebrating a court victory for one its clients, a professor who was punished by his employer for refusing to use the preferred gender pronouns of a student. 

“Dr. Meriwether’s victory is a free speech victory for professors all across the country,” Tyson Langhofer, senior counsel and director of the Center for Academic Freedom at ADF told The Ohio Star Wednesday. “The court rightly decided that his First Amendment rights were likely violated and vindicated these rights for all professors. No one should be forced to say something they believe is untrue and we are grateful the court has recognized that.”

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Commentary: Ohio Professor Wins Settlement in ‘Preferred Pronoun’ Case

In a refreshing religious liberty result from the world of academia, free speech won and preferred pronouns lost.

A professor at Shawnee State University, in Portsmouth, Ohio, will be able to honor his conscience as a Christian who believes God created human beings as male and female and that a person’s sex cannot change, and will not be required by the school to compromise that belief when addressing students.

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Former Elementary School Assistant Principal Sues Albemarle County School Board after Quitting Due to Alleged Racially Hostile Work Environment

A former Albemarle County elementary school assistant principal is suing the school board, claiming that a racially hostile work environment forced her to quit her job in 2021. Emily Mais’ lawsuit describes an escalating series of conflicts related to anti-racism trainings, including the book Courageous Conversations About Race, which Governor Glenn Youngkin’s education administration has identified as an example of Critical Race Theory.

“The curriculum sets up a classic Catch-22, in which a white person’s objections to the content of the curriculum are simply evidence that he or she is a racist who needs further training on the curriculum,” the complaint states. “Unfortunately for her, Ms. Mais was caught in that Catch-22. When Ms. Mais complained about the curriculum and protested reverse racism, she was branded a racist, severely and pervasively harassed, relentlessly humiliated, and ultimately compelled to resign from a job that she loved to preserve her mental health.”

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Catholic Charity Can Remain Open After Court Found Michigan Violated First Amendment

Catholic Charities West Michigan will remain open after state officials agreed under court order to pay the nonprofit’s attorney’s fees and acknowledged that taking actions against the charity for its beliefs would violate the First Amendment.

Catholic Charities prioritizes placing children up for adoption or in foster care with a married mother and father. The group filed a lawsuit with the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) after Michigan officials gave the nonprofit the ultimatum to either close its adoption and foster care ministry or change its policy prioritizing a married mother and father to receive a child.

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Virginia Supreme Court Grants Appeal in Lawsuit By Teacher Fired for not Using Preferred Pronouns

The Virginia Supreme Court has agreed to hear an appeal of a lawsuit from former West Point High School French teacher Peter Vlaming, who was fired from the district in 2018 for not using a student’s preferred pronouns. The Court granted the appeal Thursday, according to announcement from the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF).

“Peter wasn’t fired for something he said; he was fired for something he couldn’t say,” ADF Senior Counsel Chris Schandevel said in the release. “As a teacher, Peter was passionate about the subject he taught, he was well-liked by his students, and he did his best to accommodate their needs and requests. But Peter could not in good conscience speak messages that he does not believe to be true.”

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Supreme Court to Hear Case of Woman Forced to Create Websites for LGBT Causes Against Religious Beliefs

The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear the case of a web designer fighting a Colorado law that forces her to promote messages against her religious beliefs, the court announced Tuesday.

Lorie Smith of 303 Creative asked the court to review the 10th Circuits’ ruling that Colorado’s Anti-Discrimination Act requires Smith to engage in speech that violates her conscience, according to the Alliance Defending Freedom, which is representing her.

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Virginia Parents Sue Albemarle County School Board over Alleged Discriminatory Policies

Group of young students at table, reading and wearing masks

A group of parents with children who attend schools within the Albemarle County District are suing the school board for “enacting discriminatory policies and indoctrinating students in radical ideology.”

According to the Alliance Defending Freedom, attorneys who are representing the nine parents, the school board’s policies allow members of the staff to treat students differently based on race.

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Alliance Defending Freedom Petitions Virginia Supreme Court to Hear Lawsuit over Termination of a Teacher Who Refused to Use Preferred Prounons

The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) is petitioning the Virginia Supreme Court to hear an appeal of a lawsuit from former West Point High School french teacher Peter Vlaming, who was fired from the district in 2018 for not using a student’s preferred pronouns.

“Virginia’s Constitution protects every Virginian’s ‘free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience,’ and provides that they ‘shall be free to profess and by argument to maintain their opinions in matters of religion, and the same shall in nowise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities,'” states the petition for appeal, filed November 12.

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Parents Sue Wisconsin School District over Daughter’s Clandestine Transition

A Wisconsin school district allegedly concealed information regarding children’s gender identity from parents, according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday.

A 12-year-old girl was pulled from public school after the district began a ”social transition,” which the complaint says involves “presenting to others as the opposite sex, primarily by adopting a new name and pronouns,” against the parents’ express wishes, according to the lawsuit against the Kettle Moraine School District filed Nov. 17 by the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (WILL) and the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) on behalf of two sets of parents.

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Loudoun School Board Settles Part of Lawsuit with Tanner Cross

The Loudoun County Public School (LCPS) Board agreed to a settlement of the original claims teacher Tanner Cross made in his lawsuit against the board. The agreement includes a permanent injunction barring the board from retaliating against Cross for speaking against the school’s transgender policy. The school will also pay $20,000 for Cross’ legal fees, and remove any reference to Cross’ suspension from his personnel file. The rest of the lawsuit to block enforcement of the transgender policy is still going forward.

The initial lawsuit was triggered after the school placed Cross on leave following comments at a May 27 school board meeting. He opposed a proposal that would require staff to use students’ preferred pronouns. In a preliminary injunction, Cross was allowed to return to work. On November 15, the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), which is representing Cross, announced the settlement of claims in that initial lawsuit.

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Web Designer Forced to Publish Messages Countering Her Religious Faith Asks Supreme Court to Hear Case

Person coding a website

A Colorado web designer asked the Supreme Court to take up her case challenging a state law forcing her to publish websites with messages counter to her religious beliefs.

Lorie Smith filed the petition with the Supreme Court on Friday, arguing a lower court ruling that upheld the Colorado law was wrongly decided, Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), the firm representing her, announced. The law compelled Smith’s speech in violation of her First Amendment rights by forcing her business 303 Creative to produce content against her beliefs, she said.

“The government shouldn’t weaponize the law to force a web designer to speak messages that violate her belief,” ADF General Counsel Kristen Waggoner said during a press call before filing the petition. “This case involves quintessential free speech and artistic freedom, which the 10th circuit astonishingly and dangerously cast aside here.”

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Loudoun County School Board Passes Policy That Protects First Amendment Rights in Response to Teachers’ Lawsuit

The Loudoun County school board voted on a revised professional conduct policy to specifically mention “Protected Speech” and the First Amendment rights of employees.

The new policy is a response to Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) teacher Tanner Cross who went viral for his comments at a school board meeting in May, where he spoke out against the district’s gender policy and was put on administrative leave shortly afterward. On Aug. 30 the Virginia Supreme Court ruled to reinstate him, calling his removal “likely unconstitutional.”

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Virginia Supreme Court Upholds Lower Court Decision to Reinstate Loudoun Teacher Tanner Cross

The Virginia Supreme Court upheld a lower court’s injunction to force Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) to reinstate teacher Tanner Cross. LCPS officials had asked for a review of the decision by the Loudoun County Circuit Court, saying the court was incorrect to find a likelihood of success on the merits of the case, that Cross wasn’t likely to suffer irreparable harm without the injunction, and that the court hadn’t considered the totality of the circumstances.

“We conclude that the Defendants have not established the circuit court abused its discretion in granting Cross a temporary injunction,” the Virginia Supreme Court’s Monday order states.

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Pediatricians Sue Biden Administration for Requiring Doctors to Perform Trans Surgeries Against Beliefs

Medical professionals are suing President Joe Biden’s administration over a mandate requiring doctors to perform transgender surgeries in violation of their religious beliefs or medical judgement.

Represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom, the American College of Pediatricians, the Catholic Medical Association and an OB-GYN doctor specializing in adolescent care filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee at Chattanooga Thursday against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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Alliance Defending Freedom Asks Court to Reconsider Challenge to Virginia Values Act

The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) wants the Loudoun County Circuit Court to reconsider its decision to dismiss a legal challenge to the Virginia Values Act. On Friday, the ADF filed a Motion to Reconsider Calvary Road Baptist Church v. Herring, a lawsuit that claims the VVA and an associated insurance law violate constitutionally-protected freedoms through hiring non-discrimination laws.

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Alliance Defending Freedom Wants to Change Focus of Tanner Cross Lawsuit to Stop Requirement to Use Preferred Pronouns in Loudoun Public Schools

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 their 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 students 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.”

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Circuit Court Dismisses Alliance Defending Freedom Lawsuit over Virginia Values Act

Shot of a brick church with blue sky

Loudoun County Circuit Court Judge James Plowman dismissed a challenge to the Virginia Values Act (VVA) Friday. A group including churches and schools sued the State Corporation Commission (SCC), Attorney General Mark Herring, and Virginia Division of Human Rights and Fair Housing Director Thomas Payne, II in October 2020. They argue that the VVA and a related insurance law violate the organizations’ freedom of religion and speech.

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Court Approves Emergency Injunction Reinstating Tanner Cross in Loudoun School Board Lawsuit

The Loudoun County Circuit Court ordered Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) to reinstate teacher Tanner Cross in a decision Tuesday. Cross is suing the Loudoun County School Board after he spoke at a school board meeting saying he would not use students’ preferred pronouns.

On Friday, the case had a lengthy hearing in the court where the defendants asked the court to dismiss the lawsuit; Cross’ team asked the court to issue a temporary injunction to allow him to return to work while the case proceeds.

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Lawsuits Pile Up in Loudoun County Battle Between School and Activists

The Loudoun County School Board is being sued over its Equity Ambassador program. Scott Mineo, founder of activist organization Parents Against Critical Theory (PACT), has said the program is discriminatory since last fall. Now, Mineo, Loudoun County Republican Women’s Club President Patti Menders, and several anonymous plaintiffs are suing the school board.

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Glenn Youngkin Calls for Reinstatement of Loudoun Teacher Placed on Leave for Opposing Use of Preferred Pronouns in School

GOP gubernatorial nominee Glenn Youngkin has called for Loudoun County Public Schools to reinstate a teacher who was placed on leave after opposing a potential policy requiring staff to use students’ preferred pronouns.

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FSU Settles Discrimination Lawsuit with Former Student Senate President Jack Denton

The Florida State University

Florida State University has settled a lawsuit filed by Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) on behalf of Jack Denton, the former Student Senate President who was removed from his role for criticizing Black Lives Matter. 

After the death of George Floyd, Denton advised fellow students in a Catholic group chat not to donate to Black Lives Matter, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) or Reclaim the Block, leftist organizations who support anti-Catholic teachings. 

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Updegrove Appeals to Fourth Circuit Court in Lawsuit Fight Against Virginia Values Act

Bob Updegrove

Wedding photographer Bob Updegrove is appealing his case to the Fourth Circuit Court of Virginia after the Eastern District Court of Virginia dismissed his lawsuit. Updegrove is represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF). The lawyers argue that the pro-LGBTQ Virginia Values Act threatens Updegrove’s freedom of religion by requiring him to participate in homosexual weddings or potentially face an initial fine of $50,000.

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Female Athletes Appeal Ruling Dismissing Complaints Against Biological Males In Women’s Sports

Four female athletes are appealing a ruling that dismissed their challenge to a policy that allows biological males to compete in female sports.

Selina Soule, Chelsea Mitchell, Alanna Smith, and Ashley Nicoletti will continue to challenge the Connecticut policy, represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom, the law firm announced Monday.

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Court Hears Virginia Lawsuit by Christian Wedding Photographer

Attorneys representing Christian wedding photographer Bob Updegrove spoke before the Eastern District Court of Virginia on Friday, where they argued that the pro-LGBTQ Virginia Values Act threatened Updegrove’s freedom of religion.

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Christian Wedding Photographer and Ministries Sue Virginia Over Law Banning LGBTQ Discrimination

A Christian wedding photographer and two churches, three Christian schools, and a pro-life ministry sued Virginia for its LGBTQ discrimination law. The plaintiffs argue that the law is a violation of religious freedom in the First Amendment.

The Christian plaintiffs say the state law forces their hand. If they don’t forsake God’s commandments, they could endure hundreds of thousands or more in fines and litigation fees. And, they could face a court order to adhere to the law. These individuals are also prohibited from expressing any religious beliefs that may be perceived as discriminatory.

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Commentary: High School Runner Who Lost to Transgender Athletes Will Compete in College

By now, millions know the story of Selina Soule, the high school track star from Connecticut who missed qualifying for the New England track and field regionals by two spots in her top event. Those two spots were taken by biological boys who identify as girls.

Soule, who is wise beyond her years, was well aware that she could face consequences for speaking out about being forced to compete against biological males. But she recognized a greater need.

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Idaho Governor Signs ‘Fairness for Women in Sports Act’ Barring Biological Men from Competing in Women’s Sports

by Mickey Mertz   Idaho Governor Brad Little signed into law the Fairness for Women in Sports Act, which bars biological men from competing in women’s athletics. “The legislature finds that there are ‘inherent differences between men and women,’ and that these differences ‘remain cause for celebration, but not for denigration…

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Fed Court Rules Atlanta Abused Constitution By Sacking Fire Chief

U.S. District Judge Leigh Martin May ruled Wednesday that Atlanta officials violated the Constitution in 2015 when they terminated then-Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran for not getting the city’s prior permission to write a religious book. The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) represented Cochran, a evangelical Christian, in the case, Cochran v.…

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Pro-Life Students Sue Miami University Because It Won’t Let Them Erect a Cross

Students at the Miami University in Ohio are suing the school after it wouldn’t let them erect a cross on its campus to express their pro-life message. Filed by the Alliance Defending Freedom on behalf of Miami University’s Students for Life, the lawsuit alleges that the university violated their rights…

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Protestant Pastors Don’t Want IRS to Punish Churches for Sermon Content, LifeWay Research Survey Finds

Most Protestant pastors say the IRS shouldn’t punish churches for the content of sermons, a new LifeWay Research survey shows. The Christian legal group Alliance Defending Freedom sponsored the phone survey of 1,000 senior pastors. President Trump and Congress are currently debating the future of a 1954 law known as…

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Family Action Council of Tennessee Joins Amicus Brief Supporting Christian Baker in Same-Sex Wedding Case

  The Family Action Council of Tennessee (FACT) has joined 32 other family policy councils nationwide in filing a friend-of-the-court brief on behalf of a Colorado baker accused of discrimination for declining to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding. This fall, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear the major,…

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Michigan Farmer Banned From Selling At Local Farmers’ Market For Belief In Traditional Marriage

Tennessee Star

  Alliance Defending Freedom filed a federal lawsuit last week on behalf of a Catholic organic farmer in Michigan who was told he could no longer sell his produce at an East Lansing farmers’ market because of his belief that marriage should be between one man and one woman. “At…

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Kentucky Appeals Court Upholds Printer’s Right To Refuse To Make Pro-Gay T-Shirts

A Kentucky appeals court last week upheld the free speech rights of a Lexington print shop owner who refused to make gay pride t-shirts because the message conflicted with his Christian beliefs. The ruling “is a victory for printers and other creative professionals who serve all people but cannot promote…

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Alliance Defending Freedom Video: Wisconsin Students Favor Rights of Muslims Over Rights of Christians

Alliance Defending Freedom filed a lawsuit in Wisconsin last week challenging a local ordinance in Madison and a state law that force creative professionals to promote messages that violate their beliefs. “Every American, and especially creative professionals, shouldn’t be threatened with punishment for disagreeing with the government,” said ADF Senior…

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Family Action Council of Tennessee’s David Fowler: Religious Liberty Defeat Result of Changing Moral Code

David Fowler, president of the Family Action Council of Tennessee, is making a unique comparison between the recent defeat for religious liberty in an LGBT case in Washington state and a case more than 100 years ago in which the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a law punishing polygamy. In both…

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