Friday, January 27, 2012

Appeal Court: Student Expulsion Could be Religious Hostility

An appeals court has sided with a student who was expelled from her university for refusing to counsel a client about a same-sex relationship. Julea Ward told professors at Eastern Michigan University her Christian faith prevented her from supporting the sexual orientation of gay clients. She asked to have a gay client referred to another counselor. Instead, she was kicked out of school. A judge said the university was within its right to remove her from the program since she was unwilling to fulfill its requirements for a counseling degree. But today, the Sixth Appeals court said Ward's claim could be legitimate and sent it back to the lower court for further consideration. The judges said that she may have been dismissed because of "hostility toward her speech and faith." A spokesperson for the school says the case is really about doing what's best for the client.  The decision returns the case to the district court for a jury trial. The Sixth Circuit includes Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee, so the legal precedent applies only to those states.

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