By Alex Cordero
The Pasadena Republican Club (PRC) filed its first amended complaint against the Western Justice Center (WJC), Judith Chirlin and the City of Pasadena earlier this month. In the introduction of their civil rights claim the PRC states that the WJC along with the executive committee, managing property owned by the City of Pasadena, cancelled an event because they disagreed with the scheduled speaker’s religious affiliation. Per the PRC, the cancellation notice was issued by Judith Chirlin, the executive director of the WJC during the time of the incident, just a few hours before the event was to take place at the Maxwell House.
The amendment demands a jury trial. It includes four instances of alleged discrimination. It also includes injunctions against the WJC and the City of Pasadena, and punitive damages against Chirlin. According to Anthony T. Caso, the attorney representing the PRC, Judge S. James Otero has been assigned to the case.
According to the lawsuit, back in early 2017 Lynn Gabriel, the president of the PRC, concluded a contract for rent of the Maxwell House with the WJC for an event scheduled on April 20, 2017. The rental contract was signed by Gabriel representing the PRC and Chirlin on behalf of the Western Justice Center. Per the PRC, the contract noted that the property for rent was owned by the City of Pasadena and that during or before the rental agreement was finalized Gabriel told Chirlin that the speaker for the April 20 event was Dr. John Eastman.
Dr. Eastman is the former dean of the law school of Chapman University and currently the Henry Salvatori professor of law and community service at Chapman University. He is the director of the Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence, a public interest law firm affiliated with The Claremont Institute. He speaks on issues of law and politics on national radio and television programs across the nation. He is also chairman of the board for the National Organization for Marriage (NOM). This organization works to “defend marriage [between a man and woman] and the faith communities that sustain it at the local, state, and national levels.”
In the complaint, the PRC claims that hours just before the event was to take place Gabriel received and email from Chirlin that read:
“While I knew that Prof. Eastman was a professor and author, we learned today that he is the President for the National Organization for Marriage (NOM). NOM’s positions on same-sex marriage, gay adoption, and transgender rights are antithetical to the values of the Western Justice Center … WJC works to improve campus climates with a special focus on LGBT bias and bullying. We work to make sure that people recognize and stop LGBT bullying. Through these efforts we have built a valuable reputation in the community, and allowing your event in our facility would hurt our reputation in the community.”
We reached out to the WJC and the City of Pasadena for comment on the allegations filed in court by the PRC and although the City of Pasadena has yet to respond to our inquiry for comment Elissa Barrett, the current executive director at the Western Justice Center, provided a statement as follows:
“Thank you for reaching out to the Western Justice Center for comment on the case filed against us by the Pasadena Republican Club. The Western Justice Center has always been dedicated to improving our community. While we were disappointed that the Pasadena Republican Club chose to file this lawsuit, we will seek to respond to their complaints in a constructive and respectful manner. Due to the pending litigation, I am not able to comment further.”