The Blaze | Carlos Garcia | February 17, 2020
An Ohio professor lost his lawsuit alleging that a college was infringing on his right to free expression of religion after the administration rebuked him for not using a transgender student’s preferred pronouns.
Nicholas Meriwether said that using the transgender pronouns was against his Christian faith and the demand from the college was violating his rights. He has taught religion and philosophy at the school since 1996.
Shawnee State University responded that using the student’s preferred pronouns was a reasonable request of Meriwether’s employment as a professor and not in violation of his civil rights.
On Wednesday, a judge ruled against Meriwether and dismissed his lawsuit.
The transgender student was born a male but preferred being referred to as a female. Meriwether refused and referred to the student with male pronouns.
Asaf Orr, an attorney at the National Center for Lesbian Rights praised the ruling, saying that transgender students would have greater access to “educational opportunities available to all students without fear of discrimination.”
“Since this lawsuit began, transgender students have been worried that they would have to start skipping classes or avoid particular professors because Shawnee State would no longer be able to effectively address bullying, harassment, and mistreatment of transgender students,” said Jae Keniston, president of SAGA.
Meriwether’s attorney, Travis Barham of the Alliance Defending Freedom, said they are considering taking further steps to defend his client’s rights.
“This is wrong,” Barham said. “Public universities have no business compelling people to express ideological beliefs that they don’t hold.”