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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.

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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

D.F. 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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