Grand Rapids, Mich., Jul 28, 2010 / 20:06 pm
Attorneys of the Alliance Defence Fund (ADF) are preparing to appeal a federal judge's decision that a Christian student's beliefs about homosexuality were an acceptable grounds for her dismissal from a graduate program in counseling at Eastern Michigan University.
Julea Ward enrolled in the university's counseling practicum course in January 2009, and was assigned to a client who sought assistance with a homosexual relationship. Ward considered herself unable to assist the client under the circumstances, due to her own moral and religious beliefs, and was advised by her supervisor to reassign the client.
Eastern Michigan University, however, responded to the situation by initiating disciplinary procedures against Ward, involving a “remediation” program. According to ADF, the “remediation” amounted to an ultimatum: Ward would either “see the error of her ways” and change her beliefs about sexual morality in order to encourage her clients in same-sex relationships, or be dismissed from the counseling program.
The university argued that she broke both school policy and the American Counseling Association code of ethics.