Moms for Liberty Claims Victory in Library Suit

By David M. Greenwald
Executive Editor

Davis, CA – An event that was cancelled at the Davis Library has had far reaching consequences—including numerous bomb threats last fall.  Now a settlement with Yolo County Library officials over free speech issues have led to a modest monetary settlement and also policy changes.

The right-wing group, Alliance Defending Freedom, announced on Tuesday that they “reached a favorable settlement agreement with Yolo County Library officials after they violated the First Amendment rights of several women’s groups who met in a local library to discuss the harms of allowing men to participate in women’s sports.”

According to the release, library officials agreed to change their policy to mandate that staff “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.

The library further agreed to allow Moms for Liberty—Yolo County, Independent Council on Women’s Sports, California Family Council, and “other parental rights and women’s advocates to use the library to hold a discussion on fairness in women’s sports after officials shut down their event in August.”

The groups reportedly hosted a “success event” in April without incident.

Officials agreed to pay $70,000 in “damages and attorneys’ 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.

They added, “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.”

The incident which occurred on August 20, where the Davis librarian shut down the public meeting, led to several bomb threats—several of which were directly received by the Vanguard.

At issue was an event hosted by the Yolo County chapter of Moms for Liberty, called “Forum on Fair and Safe Sport for Girls” in the Blanchard Community Room at the Davis Library.

The event featured several speakers, including Sophia Lorey, the outreach director for California Family Council and a former collegiate athlete.

Chapter President, Beth Bourne, gave the Vanguard a copy of the conversation between Librarian Scott Love and others on the phone—recorded with the permission of the parties.

“California state law recognizes transgender as a protected class,” Love explained according to the recording that was reposted on Twitter.  “So, I was telling her, if you are speaking about a transgender or female, they need to be referred to as a female. Transgender males need to be referred to as a male. And if there’s any misgendering, we will ask… If it’s by any of the organizers, they will be asked to leave. There’s no exceptions.”

He added that “this is under treating people with respect. If you are, if you’re referring to a transgender female as a male it’s protected in the state of California.”

During Lorey’s speech, protestors began to interrupt her, shouting her down and accusing her of “misgendering.”

During the speech, Love told Lorey that if she continued to refer to transgender athletes as men, she would be asked to leave and the event would be shut down.

Love interceded, again noting California state law “recognizes transgender women as women.”

“This is a library. I don’t want any transgender females being called males in sporting events with females,” Love said. “If that happens, it’s not following our code of conduct and we will ask the person to leave immediately.”

Once again Lorey referred to “biological men,” and Love again referred to the library’s code of conduct.  Love then asked her to leave “or we’ll shut the entire program down. …You were misgendering.”

After some more back and forth, Love eventually shut down the media and the incident has since gone viral, on national right-wing media in particular.

Lorey stopped her speech, and three minutes into the next speech, Love told everyone to leave and turned off the projector to prevent the event from continuing. Organizers and attendees of the forum eventually left, unable to continue the planned event.

The groups suing claimed victory.

“This settlement is a clear victory for free speech and the First Amendment,” said Institute for Free Speech Vice President for Litigation Alan Gura. “Yolo County officials tried to silence speakers and shut down an event because the ideas expressed there didn’t comport with the officials’ preferred ideology. As a result of this lawsuit, Yolo County has now agreed to respect the right of all Americans to freely express their views in public spaces without fear of government censorship.”

County officials have not commented on the settlement.

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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