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COMMENTARY OF THE DAY
By
Robert Namer
Voice Of America
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November 22, 2022

      Lawyers for a high school French teacher who was fired after he refused to use a transgender student’s pronouns argued before the Supreme Court of Virginia that the school violated his constitutional right to speak freely and exercise his religion. An attorney for the school said the teacher violated the school’s anti-discrimination policy.

     Peter Vlaming sued the school board and administrators at West Point High School after he was fired in 2018. Vlaming appealed a lower court’s ruling dismissing the lawsuit and asked the Supreme Court to reinstate it.  Vlaming’s lawsuit was brought by the Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative Christian legal advocacy group that has filed six similar lawsuits - three in Virginia, and one each in Ohio, Kansas and Indiana.  ADF attorney Christopher Schandevel told the high court that Vlaming was not fired for something he said, but “for something he couldn’t say.” “This is a case about compelled speech,” he said.  Schandevel told the justices that Vlaming tried to accommodate the student by using his masculine name and avoiding the use of pronouns, but the student, his parents and the school told him he was required to use the student’s male pronouns.  

     
Schandevel told the justices that Vlaming tried to accommodate the student by using his masculine name and avoiding the use of pronouns, but the student, his parents and the school told him he was required to use the student’s male pronouns.   In his lawsuit, Vlaming said he could not use the student’s pronouns because of his “sincerely held religious and philosophical” beliefs “that each person’s sex is biologically fixed and cannot be changed.” Vlaming also said he would be lying if he used the student’s pronouns. Justice Thomas Mann pushed back against the argument that using the boy’s new name but not his pronouns would allow the teacher to avoid discriminating against him.   Each person’s sex is biologically fixed and cannot be changed - science 101. 

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