Alliance Defending Freedom has filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of a local chapter of Moms for Liberty with the Independent Women’s Council on Sports (ICONS) and other advocates against officials with the Yolo County California Public Library system over the censorship of an event discussing men who identify as women participating in female sports.

What is Alliance Defending Freedom?

Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization committed to protecting religious freedom, free speech, parental rights, marriage and family, and the sanctity of life.

Alliance Defending Freedom Church Alliance and Alliance Defending Freedom Ministry Alliance give churches, schools, pregnancy centers, and various Christian ministries access to ADF’s legal expertise and track record in religious liberty cases.

In Moms for Liberty – Yolo County v. Lopez, Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys attest that the Yolo County public library used their governmental authority to “frustrate and block Plaintiffs’ expression on these subjects by refusing to enforce their rules against the disruption of Plaintiffs’ events, and even shouting down and terminating Plaintiffs’ speech with which they disagree.”

According to the complaint, Moms for Liberty, a parental rights group, began facing obstacles in February to hold public discussions in the library endorsing traditional values in children’s literature.

Staff labeled the local chair as “anti-trans,” contacted queer advocates to organize counter-messaging, and described Moms for Liberty internally as “anti-LGBTQIA.” Further, Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys argue that a “drag queen story hour” was scheduled by the library to counter their programming.

Over successive gatherings from March to May, guests reported that protesters consistently interrupted speakers with shouts and signs obstructing presentations without staff intervention.

Additional demonstrators outside meeting rooms deliberately created noise, hindering audibility.

During an August event titled “Forum on Fair and Safe Sport for Girls,” a regional library manager told organizers they could not refer to transgender women as “men” or “males” in women’s sports without violating library policies requiring respect for others.

When panelist Sophia Lorey contested men competing in female athletics for physical advantages, protesters reportedly heckled her talk.

After Lorey stated that biological men have physical advantages over girls and women, the manager first asked her to leave before unplugging the audiovisual equipment and terminating the entire program.

The plaintiffs argue that the library’s policies about respecting others and not interfering with library services were arbitrarily enforced to silence dissenting views on gender identity issues.

The attorneys emphasized the plaintiffs’ views were protected speech and said Americans have a right to voice concerns over public policy issues without fear of censorship.

They argue that public libraries cannot adopt a “heckler’s veto” by allowing disruption of unpopular speech as grounds to cancel events.

In a statement on Alliance Defending Freedom Media, ADF Senior Counsel Tyson Langhofer, director of the ADF Center for Academic Freedom, said that shutting down a presentation over disagreements is unconstitutional and “a growing trend among activists pushing ideologies that erase women and harm children.”

“Women have the right to speak out about their concerns regarding men participating in their sports. Yolo County Library employees hid behind their subjective policies to silence speech they disliked. We urge the court to uphold the constitutionally protected freedom of our clients to safely advocate on behalf of women’s rights without harassment or threats of punishment,” Langhofer added.

By Manali