On January 23, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit announced denial of rehearing en banc in Tingley v. Ferguson, 47 F. 4th 1055 (9th Cir., September 6, 2022), in which a three judge panel, following 9th Circuit precedent in Pickup v. Brown, 740 F.3d 1208 (9th Cir. 2014), rejected a First Amendment free speech challenge to Washington’s statute prohibiting licensed health care providers from performing … <Read More>
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits educational programs or activities that receive federal funds from excluding, denying benefits to, or subjecting to discrimination any person on the basis of sex. Title IX includes a provision exempting from this anti-discrimination rule any educational institution that “is controlled by a religious organization” with “religious tenets” inconsistent with complying with Title IX.
In 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Bostock v. Clayton … <Read More>
In 2014, after federal courts ruled that North Carolina had to allow same-sex couples to marry, Lonnie Billard and his long-time partner Richard Donham decided to marry and Billard posted an exuberant announcement on his Facebook page for his friends only. He ended that announcement by stating, “If you don’t agree with this. . . keep it to yourself. You never asked my opinion about your personal life and I am not asking yours.”
Among … <Read More>
Senior U.S. District Judge Robert J. Bryan has dismissed constitutional challenges to Washington State’s Conversion Therapy ban (codified in Wash. Rev. Code Sections 18.130.20 and 18.130.180) brought by Brian Tingley, a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, who asserted a violation of his free speech and free exercise of religion rights, as well as alleging a violation of due process. Tingley v. Ferguson, 2021 WL 3861657, 2021 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 164063 (W.D. Wash., Aug. 30, … <Read More>
Nicholas Meriwether, a philosophy professor at Shawnee State University in Portsmouth, Ohio, was very concerned in 2016 when the University announced that its ban on gender identity discrimination would require professors to respect students’ gender identity by using appropriate pronouns to refer to them. Meriwether, a devout Christian who rejects the idea that people can have a different gender identity than their genetic sex, protested to his department chair, who ridiculed his religious beliefs and … <Read More>
On June 15, 2020, the Supreme Court ruled that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects LGBTQ people from employment discrimination. On July 8, 2020, the Court took away that protection from most LGBTQ people who are employed as teachers by religious schools. In a ruling expanding a “ministerial exception” to anti-discrimination laws that it had recognized under the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment of the Bill of Right eight … <Read More>
A unanimous three-judge panel of the San Francisco-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit has affirmed a ruling by U.S. District Judge Marco A. Hernandez, Jr., that the Dallas School District No. 2 did not violate the legal rights of parents and students who objected to the District’s policy allowing transgender students to use facilities consistent with their gender identity. Parents for Privacy v. Barr, 2020 Westlaw 701730 (February 12, 2020).
The … <Read More>
In a case that drew 26 amicus briefs – an unusually high number for an argument in a Midwestern state high court, the Kentucky Supreme Court found an off-ramp from having to decide whether a small business that produces custom t-shirts has a right to refuse an order to print a shirt with whose message the business owner disagrees in Lexington-Fayetteville Urban County Human Rights Commission v. Hands on Originals, 2019 Ky. LEXIS 431, … <Read More>
On September 20, U.S. District Judge Deborah K. Chasanow of the federal district court in Maryland granted that state’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit brought by Liberty Counsel on behalf of a conversion therapy practitioner who was challenging the state’s recently enacted law that provides that “a mental health or child care practitioner may not engage in conversion therapy with an individual who is a minor.” The ban is enforceable through the professional licensing process … <Read More>
Catholic Social Services (CSS), a religious foster care agency operated by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to overrule a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit, which on April 22 rejected CSS’s claim that it enjoys a constitutional religious freedom right to continue functioning as a foster care agency by contract with the City of Philadelphia while maintaining a policy that it will not provide … <Read More>