(Official Washington Examiner editorial, May 25)  Even the most crazy-left enclaves of California are starting to recoil from the most unreasonable demands of transgender ideology. For one thing, speech cannot be compelled, especially against the dictates of faith.

This month, a Riverside County school district agreed to pay $360,000 to a former high school teacher who had been fired for refusing to call transgender students by their desired pronouns or to hide their gender identities from their parents. Jessica Tapia, a girls’ coach in the school district since 2014, explained her religious beliefs prevented her from playing the pronoun game, but school administrators fired her anyway.

Aided by the nonprofit group Advocates for Faith and Freedom, Tapia had sued, insisting that she could not be compelled to violate her firm religious beliefs with regard to gender transition or to “lie to parents.” In this instance, she didn’t technically “win” her suit, and it set no legal precedent either way because she and the school district settled out of court. Nonetheless, the school’s large payment ($285,000 to her and $75,000 to her lawyers) is a testament to the strength of her case and the likely favorable result for her if it had gone to trial.

This matter has been playing out in schools and courts across the country, with conflicting rulings. While the Supreme Court has yet to weigh in definitively, the high court has, on other matters, steadily expanded the sphere of religious liberty and clamped down on compelled speech. A teacher like Tapia seems likely to win a clear victory, one setting a nationwide precedent, when and if the subject comes before the Supreme Court.

If even a leftist school district in leftist California, with a leftist federal court of appeals having jurisdiction over it and a leftist Biden Justice Department essentially supporting it, still reads the tea leaves in a way obliging it to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars, that’s a strong sign that the “pronoun police” stand on weak legal legs…. [The rest of the editorial is at this link.]

 

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