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Yolo County Agrees to $70k Settlement After Kicking CFC Speaker Out of Library for Misgendering

Attorneys with Alliance Defending Freedom and the Institute for Free Speech agreed on a settlement with Yolo County Library officials after an employee at the Mary L. Stephens Davis Branch Library in Davis, California disrupted and ultimately ended a speech from California Family Council’s Outreach Director Sophia Lorey, violating her, and the rest of the speakers, First Amendment rights. The speech was part of an informational panel hosted by Yolo County’s Moms for Liberty chapter, called the “Forum on Fair and Safe Sports for Girls.”

The incident in question took place last August, when Sophia Lorey, a former high school and college athlete,  began a presentation on how biological males were destroying girls’ or women’s sports. Just one minute into her discussion, after making the following statement, she was shut down by a library official:

“But current 10-year-old girls cannot live out this same dream as long as men are allowed to compete in women’s sports,” Sophia 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.”

Upon hearing this, the library official stated: “California state law recognizes trans women as women. Our policy talks about treating people with respect, and if you are misgendering somebody, that is not respectful.”

Despite her attempts to keep the event going by using terms like “biological girls” and “biological men,” the situation escalated, and she was ultimately asked to leave. The entire event was subsequently shut down.

The case, Moms for Liberty-Yolo County v. Lopez, which California Family Council signed onto, was filed in December 2023 and has finally come to a close six months later. The settlement includes an agreement from library officials to update their policies which will now mandate that employees “shall not interfere with presentations or other speech by individuals or groups that have reserved meeting rooms based on the content of such speech” and to instruct staff to “curtail any disruptive behavior” during events, ADF explained

The settlement also included an agreement to allow Yolo County’s Moms for Liberty chapter to host an event at the library discussing fairness in women’s sports, the very event which was previously shut down. The event took place on April 13th with no further incidents. 

Lastly, the library officials agreed to a $70,000 financial settlement to cover damages and attorney fees.

“Women have the right to speak about their concerns regarding men competing in their sports, and public officials have a constitutional duty to uphold that right regardless of whether they agree with the point of view presented,” said ADF Senior Counsel Tyson Langhofer, director of the ADF Center for Academic Freedom. “Shutting down discussions about biological differences between men and women is, sadly, a growing trend among activists seeking to erase women and harm children. While they should never have shut down the event, Yolo County library officials are right to change course and enact policies that align with the First Amendment. We are hopeful other public officials—whether at libraries, schools, or anywhere else—see this as an opportunity to take a strong stance for the speech and assembly rights of all Americans.” 

“I simply acknowledged that men are playing in women’s sports, making it harder for girls to achieve their dreams. Yet, I was interrupted and forbidden from continuing to share my personal experience as a collegiate soccer player at Vanguard University,” Sophia Lorey stated. “I am grateful that Yolo County has now agreed to respect the right of all Americans to share their views in public spaces without fear of being silenced or censored.”

“The purpose of this lawsuit was not to reap financial gain for the violation of Sophia’s First Amendment rights, but to establish a clear precedent that public officials do not have the right to shut down a properly organized event because they disagree with the content of the discussion,” said Greg Burt, Vice President of the California Family Council.“We are pleased to see that this settlement includes a policy change for libraries in Yolo County, and we hope this legal victory represents a clear path forward for libraries across California. All groups seeking to host events at their local branches deserve to know they will not be shut down for their beliefs.”



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