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January 26, 2023

Jack Phillips

Jack Phillips

The Colorado Court of Appeals ruled against cake artist Jack Phillips in the now third lawsuit he’s faced, Scardina v. Masterpiece Cakeshop, saying that Phillips’ one-of-a-kind custom art was not “protected speech under the First Amendment.” Phillips will appeal the decision that would force him to express messages that violate his sincere beliefs.

In 2018, an activist attorney called Masterpiece Cakeshop requesting that Phillips create a custom-designed cake, pink on the inside and blue on the outside, that would symbolize and celebrate a gender transition. The attorney then called back to request another custom cake depicting Satan smoking marijuana to “correct the errors of [Phillips’] thinking.” Phillips declined to create both custom cakes because they expressed messages that violate his core beliefs. Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys representing Phillips and Masterpiece Cakeshop had asked the Colorado Court of Appeals to uphold his First Amendment rights after a trial court issued a ruling that punished Phillips for declining to design the custom cake celebrating a gender transition.

The same law being used to punish Jack is also at issue now at the U.S. Supreme Court in 303 Creative v. Elenis. At oral argument in December, Alliance Defending Freedom asked the Court to reject Colorado’s attempt to mandate orthodoxy and drive views it disfavors from the public square. The Court should uphold the bedrock principle of free speech and affirm that graphic designer Lorie Smith and all artists—writers, painters, photographers, filmmakers, calligraphers, cake artists, and more—have the right to speak and create freely without fear of government punishment.

Press Release  Explainer  Case Documents

January 25, 2023

Lydia Booth

Lydia Booth

In a victory for free speech and religious liberty, the Simpson County School District has agreed to change an unconstitutional policy that prohibited 3rd-grade student Lydia Booth from wearing a face mask with the phrase “Jesus Loves Me” on it.

In 2020, Lydia had wished to peacefully share her Christian views with her schoolmates by wearing her “Jesus Loves Me” face mask, but the principal at her school in the community of Pinola required her to remove and replace it even though she had previously worn the mask, without disruption or incident. Two days later, administrators announced a districtwide policy that prohibits messages on masks that are “political, religious, sexual or inappropriate symbols, gestures or statements that may be offensive, disruptive or deemed distractive to the school environment.”

ADF represented Lydia and her parents, and as a result of the lawsuit, the district has changed its policies to be viewpoint-neutral for political and religious expression. Under the settlement agreement, Simpson County School District will pay $45,000 and allow Lydia to wear her “Jesus Loves Me” face mask to school if she chooses to do so.

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January 13, 2023

Hunter v. U.S. Department of Education

Hunter v. U.S. Department of Education

A federal court dismissed a lawsuit filed by an activist group that was intended to prevent any students from using tuition grants, student loans, and any other federal financial assistance at schools that operate according to religious beliefs on gender or sexual morality. In October 2021, ADF intervened on behalf of three Christian post-secondary schools—Corban University, William Jessup University, and Phoenix Seminary—to defend the relevant provisions of Title IX, the federal law under attack. Among other things, Title IX allows students to use federal financial aid at private religious schools that operate according to their beliefs.

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January 5, 2023

Lainey Armistead

Lainey Armistead

In a huge win for women’s sports in West Virginia, a federal judge ruled in favor of a West Virginia law protecting women’s sports and ADF client Lainey Armistead, a former collegiate soccer player at West Virginia State University, who helped to defend the law.

In 2021, West Virginia passed the Save Women’s Sports Act, which enacted a commonsense regulation that prevented men from taking a spot from a deserving girl on women’s athletic teams. When laws fail to recognize legitimate biological differences, women and girls suffer the most. But the law was challenged in court, and a federal judge issued a preliminary injunction that temporarily halted enforcement of the law. However, the federal district judge recently granted summary judgment in favor of Lainey and dissolved the preliminary injunction that was initially put in place. This allows the Save Women’s Sports Act to go into effect, protecting women’s sports in all of West Virginia.

Press Release  Explainer  Case Documents
 

December 23, 2022

Planned Parenthood South Atlantic v. Moore

Planned Parenthood South Atlantic v. Moore

In a victory for expectant mothers and unborn children, Planned Parenthood and other abortion activists dropped their legal challenge against five North Carolina laws protecting women who may be seeking an abortion. These pro-abortionists were challenging the state’s prohibition on telemedicine abortions, a 72-hour informed-consent period, facility safety codes, the requirement that women be provided with informed-consent information, and a law ensuring that an abortion only be performed by a licensed physician. Now, after activists filed a voluntary dismissal, all five laws can remain in effect, helping ensure that women undergo these serious and dangerous procedures only when they are well aware of the risks and alternatives, and seen in person by a licensed physician in a facility equipped for medical emergencies.

Alliance Defending Freedom represented the North Carolina Speaker of the House and the President Pro Tempore of the Senate in the lawsuit.

Press Release  Case Documents
 

December 22, 2022

Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish v. Nessel

Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish v. Nessel

Alliance Defending Freedom filed suit on behalf of a Grand Rapids-based parish and Catholic school, and several of the school’s families, against Michigan officials for violating their freedom under the First Amendment to practice and teach their Catholic faith.

The Michigan Supreme Court recently reinterpreted the prohibition on sex discrimination in Michigan’s Civil Rights Act and penal code to include sexual orientation and gender identity. That change would require Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish and its school, Sacred Heart Academy, to hire school faculty and staff who lead lives in direct opposition to the Catholic faith or would speak messages that violate Church doctrine. The change further requires the parish and its school to refrain from articulating its Catholic beliefs in teaching its students and when advertising the school to prospective students or job applicants. Additionally, by preventing Sacred Heart from operating its school consistent with its beliefs, state officials are violating the rights of parents—including the three families who have joined the lawsuit—who specifically chose to send their children to Sacred Heart Academy because the school aligns with their values and religious beliefs.

No government official has the right to force a Catholic institution like Sacred Heart to affirm positions contrary to the Church’s teachings on marriage and sexuality, nor can they deprive parents of the fundamental right to make educational decisions for their children.

Press Release Explainer Case Documents
 

December 19, 2022

Phillips v. North Carolina Department of Public Instruction

Dr. David Phillips

Dr. Phillips is a well-respected English professor who has spent eight summers teaching at the Governor’s School, a residential summer program for the state’s most talented rising high-school seniors. For years, Phillips spoke out against the school’s increasing adoption of critical theory, an ideology that views everyone and everything through the lens of characteristics like race, sex, and religion, labeling people as perpetual oppressors or victims based on group membership alone.

After Phillips delivered three optional seminars in June 2021 critiquing critical theory and the increasing bias and lack of viewpoint diversity in higher education, North Carolina public school officials fired him mid-session without any explanation. When he asked why, he was told no explanation would be given, and that there was no appeal or other recourse. Phillips had always received glowing performance reviews without a single negative comment up until the point of the lectures.

Alliance Defending Freedom filed suit in state court on behalf of Dr. Phillips, because teachers shouldn’t be fired for fostering intellectual diversity on campus.

Press Release  Explainer Case Documents
 

December 16, 2022

Soule v. Connecticut Association of Schools

Soule v. Connecticut Association of Schools

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit issued a disappointing ruling against ADF clients Selina Soule, Chelsea Mitchell, Alanna Smith, and Ashley Nicoletti. All are female athletes who have been denied championship titles, placements, or advancement opportunities due to a Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference policy that allows males who identify as female to compete in girls’ athletic events. Alliance Defending Freedom is evaluating all legal options, including appeal. At the same time, ADF continues fighting in federal courts in West Virginia and Tennessee to protect biological reality, women’s sports, and simple fairness. Every woman deserves the respect and dignity that comes with having an equal opportunity to excel and win in athletics, and ADF remains committed to protecting the future of women’s sports.

Press Release  Explainer  Case Documents
 

December 15, 2022

Ratio Christi at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Ratio Christi at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln

In a victory for free speech at public universities, a federal court entered a partial judgment against University of Nebraska-Lincoln officials who discriminated against Christian student organization Ratio Christi by failing to distribute money collected from mandatory student fees to student organizations in a fair, viewpoint-neutral manner. The parties settled the remaining claims after the university revised its funding policies to provide transparency and accountability in the process.

In October 2021, Alliance Defending Freedom filed a federal lawsuit after the university denied Ratio Christi’s request of $1,500 in student activity funding to bring in Dr. Robert Audi, a respected philosopher who taught at Notre Dame. According to the university, it could not promote “speakers of a political and ideological nature.” To receive any funding, the university required Ratio Christi to “provide another spokesperson with a different ideological perspective” to counterbalance Dr. Robert Audi’s Christian views. However, the university spends thousands of dollars each year hosting and funding events that are political and ideological in nature without imposing that same requirement.

University officials should ensure that student organizations are treated fairly and objectively, not blatantly discriminated against because of a club’s particular religious or ideological viewpoint.

Press Release Explainer Case Documents
 

December 15, 2022

Lacy v. Balderas

Lacy v. Balderas

In 2021, New Mexico enacted the Elizabeth Whitefield End-of-Life Options Act to legalize and promote physician-assisted suicide. The law requires even conscientious objectors to facilitate assisted suicide by advising patients to consider it and referring them to physicians and organizations who will participate in ending their lives. If physicians decline to participate based on their religious beliefs or professional ethics, they can face civil, administrative, and professional liability, including risking losing their medical licenses.

Alliance Defending Freedom is representing the Christian Medical & Dental Associations, a national association of conscientious Christian health care professionals who oppose assisted suicide, and Dr. Mark Lacy, a licensed physician in New Mexico and member of CMDA. The government cannot force health care professionals to violate medical ethics or their religious convictions to practice medicine.

Press Release Explainer Case Documents
 

December 13, 2022

Geraghty v. Jackson Local School District Board of Education

Geraghty v. Jackson Local School District Board of Education

Alliance Defending Freedom is representing Ohio teacher Vivian Geraghty, who taught English Language Arts at Jackson Memorial Middle School in Massillon until district officials forced her to resign in August. Jackson Local School District adopted a policy requiring teachers to personally participate in the “social transition” of students who express a gender identity inconsistent with their sex by using the students’ preferred names and pronouns. However, this would violate Geraghty’s sincerely held religious beliefs and scientific understanding that a person is male or female based on sex, not subjective feelings, and that participating in a student’s “social transition” would violate those beliefs by forcing her to communicate messages she believes are untrue and harmful to the student.

The principal and his superior told Geraghty that “she would be required to put her beliefs aside as a public servant,” or else resign. But this violates the First Amendment. It was unlawful for school officials to compel her resignation simply because she wanted to avoid using her voice to validate ideas that violate her faith and jeopardize her students’ wellbeing.

Press Release Explainer Case Documents
 

December 12, 2022

Boe v. Marshall

Boe v. Marshall

In April 2022, Alabama passed a law prohibiting the administration of puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and surgeries on minors who experience discomfort with their biological sex. These medical interventions can have harmful, lifelong, and irreversible consequences. A group represented by the Human Rights Campaign, SPLC, and others immediately sued, claiming that Alabama’s law violates parental rights and the right to equal protection under the U.S. Constitution. The Biden administration also intervened to oppose Alabama’s law.

Alliance Defending Freedom is assisting the State of Alabama alongside the Alabama attorney general’s office and our co-counsel at Cooper and Kirk. ADF will work with Alabama’s experts who will testify to the scientific basis for the law and how dangerous these procedures are for children. No one has a right to harm children. Alabama’s law protects minors from harmful and unnecessary medical procedures being pushed by politicized medical associations and interest groups.

Press Release Explainer Case Documents
 

December 7, 2022

Perlot v. Green

Perlot v. Green

Victory! Three Christian law students and their faculty advisor favorably settled their lawsuit against University of Idaho officials and are free to speak in a manner consistent with their religious beliefs. As part of the settlement, university officials permanently rescinded the no-contact orders they had issued and paid $90,000.

In April and May 2022, University of Idaho officials issued no-contact orders against the students and faculty advisor after some of them were asked why their student group, the Christian Legal Society, requires its officers to agree with the orthodox Christian belief that marriage is between a man and a woman. Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys representing the students and faculty advisor filed the federal lawsuit because university officials violated the students and professor’s First Amendment rights by punishing them because of the religious content and viewpoint of their speech.

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December 7, 2022

Tice-Harouff v. Johnson

Tice-Harouff v. Johnson

In a win for women, a federal court issued an order Tuesday restoring fertility awareness-based methods of family planning to health insurance plans nationwide that cover at least 58 million women. The court’s order restores language to requirements issued under the Affordable Care Act that provide women coverage for these alternative family planning methods. In December 2021, the Biden administration illegally eliminated it without responding to any public objections or giving any explanation for the change. And in May 2022, Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys filed a lawsuit on behalf of Dr. Cami Jo Tice-Harouff, a licensed nurse practitioner in Texas who provides patients with instruction in several different evidence-based fertility awareness methods of family planning.

Press Release  Explainer  Case Documents
 

December 5, 2022

303 Creative v. Elenis

303 Creative v. Elenis

Today, Alliance Defending Freedom CEO, President, and General Counsel Kristen Waggoner argued before the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of Denver-area graphic artist and website designer Lorie Smith in 303 Creative v. Elenis. The case concerns a Colorado law that requires Smith to communicate messages inconsistent with her beliefs. Even though Colorado officials have admitted that she works with people from all walks of life, including those who identify as LGBT, that she chooses what to create based on the message requested rather than the person requesting, and that every custom website she creates conveys a unique message, the state still says it can force her to speak messages about marriage that contradict her core beliefs. Free speech is for everyone. No one should be forced to say something they don’t believe.

Press Release  Explainer  Case Documents
 

December 1, 2022

E.W. v. French & A.H. v. French

E.W. v. French & A.H. v. French

Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys have favorably settled two lawsuits on behalf of several families and the Diocese of Burlington who sued state officials for discriminating against students and denying them a widely available tuition benefit because they attended religious schools. Under Vermont’s Town Tuition Program, in towns where public high schools are not operated, students were able to use this benefit at any public school in another district or approved secular private school they chose, but the towns denied the benefit to students who chose religious private schools because of the state's “adequate safeguards” requirement. As part of the settlements, state and local government officials agreed that based on the recent Supreme Court decision in Carson v. Makin, Vermont's “adequate safeguards” requirement is unconstitutional and unenforceable. The settlement also means that the plaintiff families who were wrongly denied this benefit by their school districts will be reimbursed for the tuition they paid out-of-pocket.

Press Release  Explainer  E.W. v. French  A.H. v. French
 

November 23, 2022

Wyoming Rescue Mission

Wyoming Rescue Mission

Victory! Two months after filing a lawsuit on behalf of the Wyoming Rescue Mission, Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys reached a favorable settlement with state and federal government officials.

Originally, a self-proclaimed non-Christian applied for a position for one of the mission’s thrift store associate positions—a role that is expected to teach the mission’s Discipleship Recovery Program guests how to spread the gospel, model Christ, and disciple one another. After the mission decided not to hire the applicant, the applicant filed a discrimination charge, and government officials conducted a 16-month long investigation, concluding that the mission likely violated the law. But after ADF filed suit to defend the mission, the government capitulated and settled.

As part of the settlement, state officials acknowledged that the rescue mission, as a religious organization, is free to hire like-minded employees who share the ministry’s religious beliefs and mission. The Wyoming Department of Workforce Services and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission also agreed to pay the rescue mission’s attorneys’ fees.

Press Release  Explainer  Case Documents
 

November 18, 2022

Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v. U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v. U.S. Food and Drug Administration

In the first lawsuit of its kind, Alliance Defending Freedom is representing four national medical associations and four doctors against the FDA for illegally approving chemical abortion drugs that harm girls and women. When the FDA approved these drugs more than twenty years ago, it never studied the safety of the drugs under the labeled conditions of use, ignored the potential impacts of the hormone-blocking regimen on the developing bodies of adolescent girls, and disregarded the substantial evidence that chemical abortion drugs cause more complications than surgical abortions. The FDA later eliminated necessary safeguards for pregnant girls and women who undergo this dangerous drug regimen.

The FDA approved chemical abortion drugs without basis, stonewalled ADF’s clients and thereby evaded responsibility for years, and has removed what few protections were initially in place. This lawsuit is the culmination of decades-long efforts by ADF’s clients to hold the FDA accountable for its irresponsible actions and failing to abide by its legal obligations to protect the health, safety, and welfare of girls and women.

Press Release  Explainer  Case Documents
 

November 4, 2022

Green v. Miss United States of America

Green v. Miss United States of America

United States of America Pageants is an independent, national pageant that produces live and broadcasted pageants designed to celebrate and empower women by providing them with development, public-speaking, networking, and confidence-building opportunities. But a male who identifies as a female sued USOA Pageants after learning that the pageant only allows women to participate in the event, even though the pageant offered to identify other pageants that allow males. Compelling the pageant to include males in its all-female production would change the pageant’s message of promoting women consistent with the pageant’s views on womanhood. No organization should be forced to express a message contrary to its purpose.

Thankfully, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit ruled that a female-only beauty pageant has the freedom to produce pageants consistent with its values and beliefs. Alliance Defending Freedom, alongside ADF network attorney John Kaempf, represented USOA Pageants in defending their freedom to operate their organization and speak consistently with their values.

Press Release  Case Documents
 

October 28, 2022

Blake and Travis Allen

Blake and Travis Allen

Blake Allen, a student at Randolph Union High School, felt uncomfortable with a male being in the high school girl's locker room when the girls’ volleyball team was changing. Horrified and embarrassed, she left and talked to the school administration, but the school did nothing. Since then, Blake was suspended from school just because she expressed to friends her discomfort with a male watching the girls undress. As part of the suspension, the school would have required her to write a “reflective essay” and “take part in a restorative circle,” with the school itself judging whether she had done enough. Failure to comply would have resulted in three more days’ suspension. Thankfully, after we sued, the school dropped Blake’s suspension and this other discipline. However, when Blake’s father, Travis, defended his daughter on social media, he was suspended from his position as a coach at the middle school.

All Blake and Travis did was point out that a transgender student is in fact a male and it cost Travis his coaching position and got Blake suspended from school. That is why ADF has stepped in to defend Blake and Travis from this unjust treatment. No one should get suspended from school or their job simply for voicing their opinion or calling a male a male.

(Photo credit: Jessica Allen)

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October 10, 2022

Justin Reeder

Global Impact Ministries v. City of Greensboro

Pro-life advocates have reached a settlement agreement with the city of Greensboro after having been wrongfully arrested and cited for engaging in peaceful prayer and sidewalk counseling outside an abortion facility during the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of the settlement, the city agreed that the First Amendment protects engaging in pro-life advocacy on public sidewalks and further agreed to uphold citizens’ First Amendment rights in any future proclamation order related to a public-health emergency. Based on the city’s admission of wrongdoing and guarantees of future protections, members of the Christian, pro-life ministry Love Life agreed to forgo seeking damages from the city. This victory follows another favorable settlement with Guilford County back in February 2022.

Press Release  Explainer  Case Documents
 

October 3, 2022

Barr v. Tucker

Barr v. Tucker

Lindsey Barr was fired from her position as a substitute teacher at McAllister Elementary School after she expressed concern to the school administration about an inappropriate book that was being read to all students—including two of her own children—as a part of a library readaloud program. The book, “All Are Welcome,” contains several illustrations of same-sex couples parenting and expecting children. These pictures conflict with Lindsey’s sincerely held religious views on marriage and family—including that marriage should be between one man and one woman, and that family formation should occur within the confines of heterosexual marriage. Within hours of expressing her views to the principal, Lindsey was locked out of the system she used to obtain substitute assignments. Days later, the principal told Lindsey that, although her children would be excused from the read aloud program, the principal was firing Lindsey because she had expressed her views. Alliance Defending Freedom is representing Lindsey because teachers shouldn’t be fired for expressing genuine concern about what is being taught in schools—especially when it’s being taught to their own children.

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September 20, 2022

Wyoming Rescue Mission

Wyoming Rescue Mission

Wyoming Rescue Mission has served the people of Casper, WY since 1978 by providing free meals, shelter, recovery programs, clothing and essential items, and biblical classes. The Mission is a Christian ministry, and its religious beliefs compel it to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ, serve the less fortunate, and disciple fellow believers. So, it requires all its employees to adhere to those beliefs in fulfilment of its purpose and mission. But when the Mission did not hire a self-proclaimed “non-Christian,” the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission launched an investigation and determined that the Mission likely discriminated in violation of state and federal law. The state agency even tried to have the Mission pay thousands of dollars in back pay, post compliance notices, and give its leadership and employees mandated “reeducation” training, among other things. The state agency’s and EEOC’s current enforcement of the law threatens the Mission’s ability to further its religious purpose and to continue operating according to its religious beliefs.

Alliance Defending Freedom is representing the Mission as it seeks judicial relief to hire those who share its faith and to continue operating in accordance with its Christian beliefs. ”

Press Release  Explainer  Case Documents
 

September 7, 2022

New Hope Family Services

New Hope Family Services

A federal court issued an order permanently preventing the state of New York’s Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) from shutting down New Hope Family Services, a faith-based adoption provider. New Hope operates as an adoption agency, temporary-foster-placement agency, and pregnancy resource center. The nonprofit accepts no government funding and, besides the fees paid by adoptive parents, funds its ministry through support from churches, individual donors, and private grants. The OCFS singled out New Hope for its policy, guided by its religious beliefs, of placing children it serves in homes with a married mother and father—even after it had praised New Hope for the quality of its services. The permanent injunction prohibits OCFS from enforcing state law “insofar as it would compel New Hope to process applications from, or place children for adoption with, same-sex couples or unmarried cohabitating couples, and insofar as it would prevent New Hope from referring such couples to other agencies.”

 

Press Release  Explainer  Case Documents
 

September 6, 2022

Christian Medical and Dental Association

Christian Medical and Dental Association

In a victory for life and free speech, a federal district court ruled that a California law likely violates the First Amendment rights of medical professionals by requiring them to participate in physician-assisted suicide (PAS) against their religious convictions and professional ethics. In 2015, California legalized PAS with the passage of the controversial End of Life Options Act. Then, in 2021, California amended the law by not only eliminating important safeguards from PAS but also forcing physicians with conscientious objections to participate in the process by requiring them to facilitate the patient’s access to suicide drugs. ADF and ADF network attorney Catherine Short of the Life Legal Defense Foundation represent Dr. Leslee Cochrane and Christian Medical and Dental Associations (CMDA), a national association of conscientious Christian health care professionals whose personal religious convictions and professional ethics oppose the practice of PAS.

 

Press Release  Explainer  Case Documents
 

August 31, 2022

Paige Casey

Paige Casey

Paige Casey has been a licensed Nurse Practitioner since 2018 and worked at a CVS MinuteClinic in Virginia. Because Paige is a devoted Catholic, she cannot provide or facilitate the use of any abortifacients, which end an unborn baby’s life. For three-and-a-half years, CVS respected her Catholic beliefs by providing a religious accommodation. But in January 2022, CVS informed her that they would no longer accommodate her beliefs. Paige was an outstanding employee, and there had been no complaints from co-workers, patients, or supervisors. In March 2022, she even received a merit-based pay increase. Despite that, just two days after having received the raise, CVS fired her.

Virginia state law prohibits employers from discriminating against their employees who decline to participate in providing abortifacients because of their religious or ethical beliefs. That’s why Alliance Defending Freedom filed a lawsuit on Paige’s behalf—because major corporations cannot defy the law by firing health care professionals who want to work consistently with their faith.

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August 31, 2022

Chelsey Nelson

Ricard v. USD 475 Geary County Schools School Board Members

In a victory for free speech at public schools, Fort Riley Middle School officials have agreed to pay $95,000 in damages and attorneys’ fees for violating Pamela Ricard’s First Amendment rights. Ricard was challenging a school district policy that forced her to use a student’s “preferred name” to address the student in class while using the student’s legal name when speaking to parents—actions that violated her conscience. The school had reprimanded and suspended her for not complying with this policy. Attorneys with Alliance Defending Freedom and Kriegshauser Ney Law Group represented Ricard in her lawsuit against school officials, who have now agreed to issue a statement that she was in good standing without any disciplinary actions against her at the time of her retirement in May.

Press Release  Explainer  Case Documents

August 31, 2022

Chelsey Nelson

Chelsey Nelson Photography

Victory! A federal court ruled that Chelsey Nelson, a Louisville-based photographer and blogger, is free to express messages that align with her religious beliefs about marriage. A Louisville law required her to create photographs and blogs promoting same-sex wedding ceremonies because she also did so for weddings between a man and a woman. The law also forbade her from publicly explaining her religious reasons for only creating photographs and blogs celebrating weddings between a man and a woman. Chelsey’s lawsuit is similar to 303 Creative v. Elenis, which will be argued before the Supreme Court this December. In 303 Creative v. Elenis, ADF represents Colorado graphic artist and website designer Lorie Smith to protect her freedom and her art studio.

Press Release  Explainer  Case Documents

August 29, 2022

Christian Healthcare Centers

Christian Healthcare Centers v. Nessel

Christian Healthcare Centers is a religious ministry that has provided high-quality primary medical care to people of western Michigan since 2017, including to those who cannot afford medical care. But recently, Michigan courts interpreted certain state laws to include sexual orientation and gender identity. Now, contrary to their beliefs and medical judgment, the ministry must provide cross-sex hormones, address people with pronouns inconsistent with their biological sex, and even hire employees who do not share the ministry’s religious beliefs. These requirements threaten the ministry’s ability to provide safe, high quality medical care to the community consistent with their faith.

That’s why Alliance Defending Freedom is representing Christian Healthcare Centers in a lawsuit against the State of Michigan to protect their ability to serve all people in a manner consistent with their beliefs.

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August 19, 2022

Kristen Waggoner

ADF Board names new president, CEO

Alliance Defending Freedom announced Kristen Waggoner as its new president and CEO. Waggoner will assume the post on Oct. 1, succeeding Michael Farris, who joined ADF in January 2017, and Alan Sears, who served 23 years as the founding CEO. Under her leadership on the U.S. legal team, ADF has secured 13 of ADF’s 14 U.S. Supreme Court wins since 2011. Since Farris and Waggoner joined, ADF has been recognized as a legal powerhouse defending freedom of speech, religious liberty, life, marriage and family, and parental rights. At the close of the 2021 fiscal year in June, ADF crossed the $100 million revenue threshold. Michael Farris will continue to serve ADF in key areas related to his expertise.

Read Full Press Release

August 18, 2022

 Former Austin fire chaplain Andrew Fox

Dr. Andrew Fox

In 2014, Dr. Andrew Fox created the Fire Chaplaincy Program at the Austin Fire Department. For eight years, he has worked and led the volunteer firefighter chaplain program, ministering to firefighters, their families, and fire victims—all without pay. Dr. Fox has welcomed and worked with all people, earning a spotless record without a single complaint against him. But one day, on his own personal blog, Dr. Fox commented that it is unfair for men to be competing in women’s sports due to their biological differences. An anonymous source complained, which led to his department pressuring Dr. Fox to recant and apologize for the blog post. Because Dr. Fox has deep religious convictions, he could not take back what he said, and for that, Dr. Fox was dismissed from his role.

Alliance Defending Freedom is representing Dr. Fox against the City of Austin, because every American should be able to speak freely on what they believe without being silenced or punished by the government.

Photo credit: Anna Kraft

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July 27, 2022

 School kids eating lunch

Grant Park Christian Academy v. Fried

ADF is representing Grant Park Christian Academy, a pre-K – 8th grade school that serves low-income students primarily from a minority community in Tampa, Florida. The Biden Administration has mandated that all school lunch program recipients like Grant Park Christian Academy adopt sexual orientation and gender identity nondiscrimination policies, on pain of losing lunch money. The US Department of Agriculture, which co-enforces Title IX and oversees school lunches, has ordered immediate compliance. And applications for next year’s lunches are required to submit a written assurance of compliance.

Grant Park Christian Academy is part of the Faith Action Ministry Alliance and holds to Christian beliefs about marriage and biological sex. But the Biden Administration is prioritizing a radical gender and sexual ideology and forcing Grant Park Christian Academy to choose between their sincerely held beliefs and receiving federal lunch money to feed their students. Many of Grant Park Christian Academy’s students attend the school on government-funded scholarships. The meals they receive at Grant Park Christian Academy are sometimes the only meal these kids will eat in a day and the families rely on Grant Park Christian Academy for these meals. The Biden Administration should repeal this harmful and unnecessary policy and it should respect the religious exemptions that the law provides.

Photo Credit: Grant Park Christian Academy

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July 13, 2022

 Erin Hawley before Congress

ADF Attorneys Defend Life Before Congress

ADF attorneys Denise Harle and Erin Hawley testified before Congress concerning the impact of the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision. On July 12, Denise Harle testified before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, “A Post-Roe America: The Legal Consequences of the Dobbs Decision” alongside ADF client Heidi Matzke. On July 13, Erin Hawley testified before the U.S. House Oversight Committee at its hearing, “The Impact of the Supreme Court’s Dobbs Decision on Abortion Rights and Access Across the United States.” Erin was the only pro-life expert who testified against five other pro-abortion advocates that the committee called. Both Denise and Erin admirably defended the sanctity of unborn human life, demonstrated how abortion harms women, and dispelled common lies and myths being perpetuated about the implications of the Dobbs decision.

Read Erin Hawley’s Testimony Commentary by Denise Harle

June 27, 2022

50-yard line

Kennedy v. Bremerton School District

In another win for religious liberty this term, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of football coach Joseph Kennedy, who had lost his job after he knelt at midfield after games to offer a quiet, 30-second, personal prayer. Writing for the majority, Justice Gorsuch held that Coach Kennedy’s religious expression is protected by the Free Exercise and Free Speech Clauses of the First Amendment. The Supreme Court also formally recognized its abandonment of Lemon v. Kurtzman (1971), a case which had long been used to undermine religious freedom.

Press Release Explainer Case Documents

June 24, 2022

Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization

Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization

Victory! On June 24, 2022, The Supreme Court overturned its 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that wrongly found a constitutional right to abortion. With Roe gone, states are now empowered to protect and support the lives of women and their babies. ADF was honored to be able to work alongside Mississippi in drafting and defending the Gestational Age Act before the Supreme Court, and along with the rest of the pro-life movement, will continue to work with state legislatures to ensure that life as a human right is protected across the country.

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June 21, 2022

Mother and Daughter by school bus

Carson v. Makin

The Supreme Court ruled 6-3 that Maine cannot exclude private religious schools from a generally available government program for which they otherwise qualify. Maine has a tuition assistance program for parents who live in school districts without a secondary school. The program allows parents to send their children to the school of their choice, so long as it does not provide a religious education or adopt a faith-based curriculum. In Carson v. Makin, the Supreme Court held that Maine may not discriminate against religious schools. This decision is an important one as it clarifies that discrimination based on religious use is just as unconstitutional as discrimination based on religious character or status.

This will give ADF a stronger legal position in our ongoing cases in Vermont that deal with similar legal issues: A.H. v. French and E.W. v. French.

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June 6, 2022

Parent Teacher Conference

Figliola v. Harrisonburg City Public School Board

ADF is representing a group of Harrisonburg City Public School (HCPS) teachers and parents who are objecting to an HCPS policy forcing teachers to lie to parents if their child requests to be called by a different name or pronoun. The policy requires that HCPS staff must “always use a student’s preferred name and pronouns” and that “If the parent/guardian is NOT aware, you should utilize the student’s preferred name at school but not in any communication with the parent/guardian.” Public schools should never hide information from or lie to parents about a child’s mental health. And schools should never compel teachers to be complicit in such deception. This policy violates parental rights, free speech, and religious liberty and ADF’s recently filed lawsuit asks the court to stop its operation immediately.

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May 31, 2022

 Maggie Dejong

Maggie DeJong

Maggie DeJong was a graduate student in Southern Illinois University Edwardsville’s Art Therapy program. While in her program, Ms. DeJong, like other students, would express her beliefs publicly on social media, during class, and in discussions with other students. But in February 2022, the university informed her that three students had taken out a “no contact” order against her but gave no reason as to why such an order was issued. Though Ms. DeJong did not engage in any misconduct, University officials threatened “disciplinary consequences” if she violated the no-contact orders. She eventually learned that many of her views were deemed “harmful” by students. ADF is representing Ms. DeJong in a lawsuit against the university for violating her civil and constitutional rights.

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May 25, 2022

Emily Mais

Dr. Cami Jo Tice-Harouff

Dr. Cami Jo Tice-Harouff is a family nurse practitioner from Longview, Texas with a doctorate in nursing practice. She is licensed in several states, providing patients with instruction in several different evidence-based fertility awareness methods of family planning. Since 2016, such services were required to be covered under the Affordable Care Act, but in 2021, the government issued a decision to delete the language that guaranteed coverage of fertility awareness-based methods of family planning. However, the government unlawfully circumvented the normal notice-and-comment rulemaking procedures to make such a change, and it failed to provide justification for this change. This decision was arbitrary, not the product of reasoned decision-making. Such actions will ultimately harm women and their healthcare professionals who depend on these insurance benefits. With the help of ADF, Dr. Tice-Harouff is challenging the government’s actions.

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April 26, 2022

University of Idaho campus

Perlot v. Green

Three members of the Christian Legal Society (CLS) and their faculty advisor at the University of Idaho received no-contact orders from the University’s Office of Civil Rights and Investigations. Why? Because another student asked them about their group’s views on marriage and they respectfully explained their organization’s position that requires its officers to affirm the belief that marriage is between one man and one woman, the only view of marriage and sexuality affirmed in the Bible. Despite having had disagreements with some students, neither the CLS members nor their professor received notice that anyone had officially complained about them, nor were they given an opportunity to review the allegations against them or defend themselves. Instead of allowing the students to disagree civilly and respectfully with one another and permitting students and professors to discuss these important issues, the University chose instead to censor them. ADF is representing these three students and their professor for violations of their First Amendment rights.

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April 18, 2022

 Emily Mais

Emily Mais

Emily Mais was an assistant principal at Angor-Hurt Elementary School, which is part of Albemarle County Public Schools in Virginia. She loved her job, and every school she worked at acknowledged her exemplary service. But when the school implemented teacher trainings that assigned negative or positive characteristics to people based solely on skin color, Emily voiced her concerns. She was ignored. In the final training session about the racial breakdown of the school’s employees, Emily suggested gathering more data to get a more complete picture. During this presentation, she inadvertently used the term “colored” instead of “people of color”—for which she immediately apologized. Despite her continued apologies, the school staff berated her for months. They called her names, mistreated her, and demonized her for a slip of the tongue. Emily was eventually forced to resign for the sake of her physical and mental health.

Public schools should not foster race-based division and resentment, but that is exactly what Albemarle County Public Schools is doing. That is why ADF has filed a lawsuit on Emily’s behalf for the school board’s creation of a racially hostile work environment.

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April 14, 2022

Dr. Nicholas Meriwether

Nicholas Meriwether

After a three-year legal journey, philosophy professor Dr. Nicholas Meriwether has favorably settled his case with Shawnee State University. The university had punished Dr. Meriwether for declining to speak a message against his deeply held beliefs: referring to a male student with feminine titles and pronouns. ADF filed suit, and in March 2021, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit ruled in Dr. Meriwether’s favor, saying that, based on the facts in the complaint, the university had violated his right to free speech. In the settlement, the university agreed to pay $400,000 in damages and attorney’s fees, remove the written warning from his file, and affirm his right to avoid using titles or pronouns that conflict with his beliefs.

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March 3, 2022

Peter Vlaming

Peter Vlaming

The Virginia Supreme Court has agreed to take up our case Vlaming v. West Point School Board after a lower court failed to protect the religious freedom and free speech rights of Peter Vlaming. Mr. Vlaming was a high school French teacher who was fired for avoiding the use of male pronouns with a female student, even though he consistently used the student’s chosen name. ADF will argue for the Virginia Supreme Court to uphold Mr. Vlaming’s constitutional rights and the rights of all teachers in Virginia to not be forced to contradict their core beliefs.

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February 22, 2022

Lorie Smith

Lorie Smith

Mrs. Smith is going to Washington! The Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case of Denver-based graphic designer and artist Lorie Smith in 303 Creative v. Elenis. A Colorado public-accommodation law threatens to censor and coerce speech of creative professionals whose religious beliefs conflict with government orthodoxy. This is the same law which has been used to target Jack Phillips. The High Court will review whether such laws violate of the First Amendment when used to “compel an artist to speak or stay silent”. ADF looks forward to representing Lorie at the Supreme Court.

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February 7, 2022

School Classroom

C.I. v. Albemarle County School Board

An ethnically and religiously diverse group of nine parents and their children, represented by ADF, are asking a Virginia court to halt the implementation of discriminatory policies and curriculum. Albemarle County School Board’s “Anti-Racism” policy indoctrinates students in critical race theory, a radical ideology that teaches them to view everything through the lens of race. The policy would encourage differential treatment on the basis of race and compel students and teachers to affirm ideas contrary to their deeply held moral and religious beliefs or be labelled a racist. Such policies violate their constitutional rights.

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January 26, 2022

OSHA Covid-19 Vaccine Mandate

OSHA Withdraws COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate!

In a victory against government overreach, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) withdrew its Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) that created a nationwide COVID-19 vaccine mandate for large, private employers. Earlier this month, the Supreme Court issued a per curiam opinion halting implementation of the Biden administration’s mandate. Americans may have different opinions about the COVID-19 vaccine, but every American should agree that the Biden administration’s mandate was a vast and unlawful executive power grab.

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