Court sides with Christian activist over First Amendment violation

LARAMIE, WY – According to a report from the Epoch Times, a federal judge has blocked the University of Wyoming (UW) from violating a male Christian activist’s First Amendment rights. The school reportedly tried to censor the man who openly called a transgender student, who identifies as a female, his biological gender of a male.

On August 18th, the U.S. District Court in Wyoming issues a preliminary injunction where they sided with the Christian activist, identified as Todd Schmidt, ordering the university to revserse the ban against him from hosting a table on campus while the case proceeds to its next steps.

Schmidt is an elder at Laramie Faith Community Church and back on December 2nd, 2022, Schmidt set up a table in the UW student union with a sign that reportedly read, “God created male and female and Artemis Langford is a male.”

The individual to whom Schmidt was referring is a student at the university who identifies as a female deespite being born a male. He was accepted into the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority at the beginning of the academic school year, which is an all-female group.

Members of the sorority were not in favor of the decision to admit a biological male into the group, which is why they filed a lawsuit against the national Greek organization.

After being told about the sign, an administrator from the university asked Schmidt to remove the student’s name from his sign. Initially, Schmidt refused, but then the university threatened to call the police on him, so he complied with their request.

The Branding Iron, the school newspaper where Langford works as a reporter, quoted Schmidt saying, “I’m just trying to tell the truth and bring people to God. That’s all there is. There are not any more genders than that. Biology teaches everybody about that.”

According to the article in the school newspaper, the UW administrator that forced Schmidt to take the sign down, referred to one of the many UW mission statements, which read, “Request may be denied for reasons which include, but may not be limited to, conflict with the mission of the University, conflict with the mission of the Wyoming union, unfeasible setup/turnaround time, and historic negligence or abuse.”

The incident let to the university placing a one-year sanction on Schmidt. While he is still allowed to be on other areas of campus, he is no longer allowed to reserve a table in the UW student union until spring 2024.

On December 5th, 2022, a campus-wide message was sent to all students, staff and faculty stating that Schmidt “violated the university policy prohibiting discrimination and harassment,” adding that a “line was crossed when a student was harassed by name.”

Schmidt argued that the area in the UW student union serves as a public forum and that his message to the students was not harassment, but First Amendment-protect speech.

U.S. Senior District Judge Nancy Freudenthal sided with Schmidt and disagreed with the university, saying that the inclusion of the student’s name was necessary for Schmidt to fully express his opinion. 

“Schmidt’s speech was expressive," the judge said, "with the intent to convey a particular message. Schmidt mentions Artemis Langford by name, but that is unavoidable, as the debate revolves around the propriety of a particular biological male participating in an activity — joining a sorority — traditionally reserved for biological females.

“Schmidt does not misgender Langford to denigrate her, but to debate a public issue. This is particularly true on college campuses because they are the ‘marketplace of ideas.’

While elementary and public schools prioritize the inculcation of social values, universities seek to encourage inquiry and the challenging of a priori assumptions.”

The judge concluded, “Therefore, this Court finds that Schmidt’s speech is protected free expression and not harassment or discriminatory conduct.”
 
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