The lawsuit of six Wyoming sorority members was thrown out by a judge who said the sorority’s rules did not define what a “woman” is but stated that a court should not interfere with their freedom of association.
Seven female students at the University of Wyoming filed a lawsuit against their sorority, Kappa Kappa Gamma, after a man was allowed to join the all-female group and even lived in the sorority house.
U.S. District Court Judge Alan B. Johnson threw out the lawsuit on the shocking grounds that the sorority’s bylaws do not define what a “woman” is and refused to move forward with his own definition. “With its inquiry beginning and ending there, the court will not define a ‘woman’ today,” Johnson wrote, according to the New York Post.
The students filed the lawsuit after Artemis Langford, a male, joined the chapter, but Langford was referred to by the pseudonym “Terry Smith” because the female students wanted “to spare Langford of threats and attacks, and hope to see Langford treated with kindness and respect.”
However, Judge Johnson ordered the female students “to reveal their names if they wanted to continue the lawsuit” but later dismissed the case despite six of the seven women adhering to the demand.
“The University of Wyoming chapter voted to admit — and, more broadly, a sorority of hundreds of thousands approved — Langford,” Johnson also said in his ruling.
The judge was referring to the fact that the sorority has over 250,000 members in the United States and Canada.
The judge also touched on the sorority’s freedom of association and said that he “may not invade Kappa Kappa Gamma’s freedom of expressive association and inject the circumscribed definition Plaintiffs urge.”
The plaintiffs sought the revocation of Langford’s membership and an unspecified amount of damages.
The lawsuit said that the girls were forced to “reside in the same house as a 6’2″, 260-pound man who stares at them, asks about their intimate past, makes notes about their statements and takes photographs of them without their consent, and intimidates them by threatening to publicly label them bigots if they raise concerns.”
One sorority member claimed in the lawsuit that Langford “while watching members enter the sorority house, had an erection visible through his leggings. … Other times, he has had a pillow in his lap.”
Langford’s attorney Rachel Berkness reportedly said that the “allegations against Ms. Langford should never have made it into a legal filing.”
“They are nothing more than cruel rumors that mirror exactly the type of rumors used to vilify and dehumanize members of the LGBTQIA+ community for generations. And they are baseless,” Berkness added.
As for the sorority, executive director Kari Kittrell Poole reportedly said the club does not discriminate against gender identity and that the lawsuit “contains numerous false allegations.” She did not clarify which allegations she was referring to.
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