Spectrum WT v. Wendler (2023)

FFRF filed this 5th Circuit Court of Appeals amicus brief on behalf of the Secular Student Alliance. This brief was written in support of students at West Texas A&M whose charity drag show was cancelled by University President Walter Wendler. Wendler cancelled the show in an email that repeatedly cited personal religious beliefs as a rationale for the cancellation.

The brief argued that when Wendler chose to censor student speech based upon his personal religious preferences, he engaged in viewpoiont discrimination, which is a well-established violation of the First Amendment. The brief goes on to explain that the politically hostile climate in the United States has made drag shows inherently political acts that protest Christian nationalism.

Shortly after filing its motion to submit an amicus brief, FFRF learned that its motion was denied by Judge Edith Clement. FFRF was not the only organization to have its motion to file an amicus brief denied–a brief by the ACLU of Texas along with Equality Texas and a separate brief by the Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law First Amendment Clinic were also denied in the same order. FFRF filed a joint motion for reconsideration with these other groups. This motion was granted by a three judge panel and all of the briefs were resubmitted.

This brief was drafted by Legal Fellow Kat Grant and FFRF Associate Counsel Sam Grover.


Press Release

Freedom From Religion Foundation