A lawsuit filed by a student at L.A. City College who claimed a professor violated his right to free speech by stopping him from finishing a speech against gay marriage was dismissed Friday by a federal appeals court.
A three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously overturned a lower court decision allowing Jonathan Lopez’s lawsuit to go forward. Lopez, a self-described Christian, claimed a professor stopped him mid-speech, deeming his words sexual harassment under the Los Angeles Community College District’s code of conduct. He sued the district in February 2009 in Los Angeles federal court, claiming the code was so broad that it limited his right to free speech.
U.S. Circuit Court Judge Sandra S. Ikuta wrote in the opinion handed down today that Lopez, “failed to make a clear showing that his intended speech on religious topics gave rise to a specific and credible threat of adverse action from college officials under the college’s sexual harassment?policy.” Lopez gave his classroom speech just weeks after California voters approved Proposition 8 banning gay marriage in November 2008.