As transgender activists and the media try to twist and undermine the freedom to speak truthfully through the words we use, a college professor in Ohio has won an important victory in a First Amendment court case.
Nicholas Meriwether of Shawnee State University resisted his school’s order to use transgender students’ preferred pronouns, was officially reprimanded and has now won before a federal appeals court, reports Reuters.
The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ unanimous ruling said that the university violated Meriwether’s rights of free speech and free exercise of religion by punishing him for resisting school rules that forced him to address students using inaccurate pronouns of their choosing.
The philosophy professor sued Shawnee State, saying its mandate to use biologically inaccurate terms infringed on his religious belief that gender is real and fixed at conception. The court’s March 26 decision was written by a judge appointed by President Trump and upheld Meriwether’s argument.
“The First Amendment interests are especially strong here because Meriwether’s speech also relates to his core religious and philosophical beliefs,” Judge Amul Thapar wrote in the 32-page opinion.
“A university president could require a pacifist to declare that war is just, a civil rights icon to condemn the Freedom Riders, a believer to deny the existence of God, or a Soviet émigré to address his students as ‘comrades,’” Thapar wrote. “That cannot be.”
Meriwether, a Shawnee State faculty member for 25 years, was reprimanded in 2016 after a transgender student reported him for using “Mr.” instead of “Ms.” when addressing the student in class.
The ruling clears the way for the professor to pursue a lawsuit seeking damages.
The conservative Alliance Defending Freedom who represented Meriwether in court.