The California Family Council (CFC) joined a lawsuit with Moms for Liberty of Yolo County against a local library for disrupting and stopping a speech about protecting women’s sports from male players last August. Their Attorney from Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) insists the library’s actions violated the First Amendment, and it appears the County agrees. After ADF filed its lawsuit last week, the county says it’s ready to settle.
“Shutting down a presentation over disagreements is unconstitutional and, sadly, a growing trend among activists pushing ideologies that erase women and harm children. Fortunately, the First Amendment stands as a bulwark against such censorship,” said ADF Senior Counsel Tyson Langhofer, director of the ADF Center for Academic Freedom. “Women have the right to speak out about their concerns regarding men participating in their sports. Yolo County Library employees hid behind their subjective policies to silence speech they disliked. We urge the court to uphold the constitutionally protected freedom of our clients to safely advocate on behalf of women’s rights without harassment or threats of punishment.”
The incident happened over the summer when former college athlete and CFC Outreach Director Sophia Lorey attempted to speak at the “Forum on Fair and Safe Sports for Girls” put on by the Yolo County Moms for Liberty and held at the Mary L. Stephens Davis Branch Library in Davis, California. The subject of her talk centered around the unfairness of allowing males, who identify as women, to participate in girls’ or women’s sports.
Lorey began by saying that her “dream” as a young girl was to play college soccer. “But current 10-year-old girls cannot live out this same dream as long as men are allowed to compete in women’s sports,” she said. “Allowing biological men in women’s sports does not create an equal playing field, [and] instead robs young biological girls of their athletic aspirations.”
Shortly after Lorey began speaking, several individuals started shouting, alleging that she was “misgendering” and prevented her from completing her speech. “California state law recognizes trans women as women,” said Library Regional Manager Scott Love. “Our policy talks about treating people with respect, and if you are misgendering somebody, that is not respectful.” Several minutes into Lorey’s speech, Love told her to leave for misgendering male athletes who say they are women.
A video of the chaotic library event went viral on X (formerly known as Twitter) and consequently, the incident received national media attention with the help of another famous female athlete, Riley Gaines, a former college swimmer who was forced to compete against and share a locker room with a 6-foot 4-inch male.
It sounds like Yolo County officials know they have violated the free speech rights of Lorey, the Moms for Liberty, and the other groups and individuals scheduled to speak that day. (The other groups and individuals include Kim Jones with the Independent Council on Women’s Sports, Beth Bourne with Moms for Liberty, Allison Snyder, and Erin Friday with Our Duty.)
After the lawsuit was filed, Attorney Langhofer received a call from the county asking if they would like to talk about a settlement. “We said ‘absolutely,’” Langhofer recalled. “Our goal isn’t to have a long lawsuit. Our goal is to have good policies and allow everyone to be able to use the library on an equal basis.”
Langhofer said he is willing to settle the suit, but only if the county will modify its library policies to allow the Moms for Liberty to return and have their event, without it being shut down by the library staff or by protestors who shout down the speakers. “If they won’t, then we are going to ask the court to enter an injunction against the library stopping them from enforcing their policy in an unconstitutional manner,” he said. “I don’t care whether they disagree with Sophia or agree with her. No one should be shut down by a government official simply because the official disagrees with her viewpoint.”