A Shawnee State University professor is suing his workplace over his opposition to a policy that requires him to refer to students by their preferred pronouns.

Nicholas Meriwether, a philosophy professor at Shawnee State University, Ohio, refused to refer to a trans student by her chosen pronouns, reports The Washington Times.



Student Alena Bruening filed a complaint against the Shawnee State University academic earlier this year after he objected to calling her “miss” or “she.”

He instead offered to refer to Bruening by her first name.

Shawnee State University in Ohio where professor Nicholas Meriwether works
Meriweather is suing Shawnee State University. (Shawnee State University/Facebook)

Trans student files complaint

Following Bruening’s complaint, the university warned the academic against violating its gender policy.

Meriwether, an evangelical Christian, filed a lawsuit on Monday (November 5), arguing that the institute has violated his First Amendment rights.

He is represented by conservative Christian group Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF).

“We value freedom of expression by students, faculty, staff, and visitors on our campus—and provide an educational and work environment that is free from discrimination, retaliation, and harassment.”

— Shawnee State University

“They demand this even though the concept of gender identity is entirely subjective and fluid, even though the number of potential gender identities is infinite,” the lawsuit reads.

A spokesperson for Shawnee State University told The Washington Times that it is reviewing the lawsuit.

“We value freedom of expression by students, faculty, staff, and visitors on our campus—and provide an educational and work environment that is free from discrimination, retaliation, and harassment,” the spokesperson told the publication.

ADF is representing a number of other Christian groups, businesses or individuals, which have filed anti-LGBT+ lawsuits on the grounds of religious freedom.

The group, which has been linked to the Trump administration’s religious freedom task force, notably backed Jack Phillips, a Colorado baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple.

In June, the US Supreme Court sided with Phillips, ruling that Colorado had violated “religious freedom” protections by ordering a bakery to stop discriminating against same-sex couples.

A trans campaigner.
A student lodged a complaint against the academic earlier this year.(Getty)

In September, it was revealed that ADF is backing the lawsuit of a Christian-run homeless shelter in Alaska, which would allow it to deny refuge to trans people.

ADF also represented a calligraphy firm in Arizona, which had sought an injunction blocking the city’s non-discrimination rules.

However, the Arizona Court of Appeals ruled against the Christian-run business.




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