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Lopez v. Candaele

Jonathan Lopez sitting on stairs


Jonathan Lopez was a Christian student in a public speaking class at Los Angeles City College.  While delivering one of his assigned speeches for the class, he mentioned that he believes marriage is between one man and one woman.  That infuriated his professor, who refused to allow Jonathan to complete the speech and told him to “ask God what your grade is.” 

In November 2008, shortly after Californians voted in favor of Prop 8, the state constitutional amendment that defined marriage as between one man and one woman, Jonathan Lopez’s public speaking professor assigned the class to give an informative speech on any topic.  Jonathan chose to talk about his faith.  And when he gave his speech, he mentioned his beliefs on marriage—that God intended it to be between one man and one woman. 

Jonathan’s professor immediately stopped him, called him a “fascist bastard,” and refused to allow him to finish the speech.  Then when Jonathan returned to his seat, he saw that the professor had written “ask God what your grade is” on the evaluation form.  Jonathan knew this was wrong and complained to the college dean.  But his professor saw him talking to the dean and later threatened to expel Jonathan if he complained again. 

Jonathan turned to Alliance Defending Freedom for help. 

Alliance Defending Freedom filed a lawsuit on Jonathan’s behalf and won a judgment against the professor that declared Jonathan’s rights had been violated.  

Alliance Defending Freedom continues to fight for the rights of many students like Jonathan Lopez so that they can participate equally in the marketplace of ideas.

Case Documents

U.S. Supreme Court
Appellate Court
Trial Court
Trial Court