Legal aid groups announced two big First Amendment wins in California. The first involved a library that shut down a “Forum for Fair and Safe Sport for Girls,” an event hosted by Moms for Liberty – Yolo County and other advocates for girls and women’s sports.

The second case was won by Jessica Tapia, a teacher who was fired for refusing to comply with school policies that told her she must lie to parents and stop posting on social media about her religious beliefs.

Alliance Defending Freedom and the Institute for Free Speech announced the settlement of a lawsuit against library officials in Yolo County. As the Daily Citizen reported, library employees disrupted and shut down presentations explaining the damage from transgender ideology – violating the free speech of several individuals and groups.

California Family Council (CFC) Outreach Director Sophia Lorey described what happened at the event, held in August 2023:

I was invited to talk about my personal story as a college athlete. I explained that men are playing in women’s sports. A library official said that I could not refer to men as men. He told me to change my language, or the event would be shut down. A few minutes later, he shut down the event, preventing me and the other speakers from communicating our message.

In addition to Lorey, CFC, and Moms for Liberty (M4L) – Yolo County, other plaintiffs included the Independent Council on Women’s Sports, Elisabeth Bourne, Allison Snyder, Kim Jones and Erin Friday.

The Institute for Free Speech explained that the settlement required the library to adopt new policies “that better protect free speech rights at library events,” adding, “The library also allowed M4L to reschedule and hold its event without interference. Additionally, it will pay $70,000 in damages and attorneys’ fees to the plaintiffs.”

Vice President for Litigation Alan Gura stated in a press release:

This settlement is a clear victory for free speech and the First Amendment.

Yolo County officials tried to silence speakers and shut down an event because the ideas expressed there didn’t align with the officials’ preferred ideology. As a result of this lawsuit, Yolo County has now agreed to respect the right of all Americans to freely express their views in public spaces without fear of government censorship.

Alliance Defending Freedom posted about the win on the social media platform X, with video footage of library employees silencing Lorey for “misgendering” men who identify as women:

In the second case, Jessica Tapia won a victory against the Jurupa Unified School District, in Riverside County. Advocates for Freedom filed suit on Tapia’s behalf alleging that she was wrongfully terminated by the district for her religious beliefs and for exercising her freedom of speech.

Tapia taught at Jurupa Unified from 2014 to 2022, when, according to the lawsuit, she “was blindsided when the District gave her a Notice of Unprofessional Conduct.”

Advocates for Freedom explained that Tapia had an Instagram account here she “regularly posted quotes, Bible verses, and her religious beliefs regarding cultural issues on her personal social media pages without any issues.”

District officials told her she must “refer to students by their preferred gender pronouns; refrain from publicly posting her faith and opinions on social media; and refrain from discussing her religious beliefs or the Bible with students.”

She was also directed “to withhold information and lie to parents about their student’s name/gender/pronoun preference.”

Tapia told the district she could not follow their requests, saying they violated her religious beliefs. She sent a letter explaining that lying to parents breached Jurupa Unified policy, “which requires that District employees create and maintain a climate that encourages honesty.”

The school district fired her for holding to her faith and refusing to lie to parents.

According to Advocates for Faith and Freedom, the lawsuit was settled for $360,000. Legal counsel Julianne Fleisher opined:

Today’s settlement serves as a reminder that religious freedom is protected, no matter your career.

If the school district’s actions were legal, no teacher of faith would be qualified to serve as a public school teacher. Jessica’s story is one of faithful courage. She fought back to ensure her school district was held accountable and that no other teacher has to succumb to this type of discrimination.

Jessica Tapia and Advocates for Faith and Freedom also announced the formation of a new initiative, Teachers Don’t Lie, saying:

Across the country, we are seeing teachers’ freedom of speech and religious liberty violated through policies that require them to forsake their morals. … This is why I’m joining forces with Advocates for Faith and Freedom to launch Teachers Don’t Lie, a resource that will be committed to giving a voice of truth to teachers. I am confident that we are making progress to ensure that no teacher has their faith violated within schoolhouse gates again.

Advocates for Faith and Freedom said the program would “provide ongoing support and legal help to teachers.”

Related articles and resources:

California Public Library Silences Female Athlete

Moms for Liberty Sues Library for Censoring Forum to Protect Women’s Sports

Six California School Districts Pass Parental Notification Policies for Children Confused About Their Sexual Identity

Take Action and Protect Children in California – Here’s How You Can Help

What’s Your School District’s ‘Transgender’ Policy?

Yolo County Library Violates First Amendment, Censors CFC Speaker


Image credit: Advocates for Faith and Freedom