Counseling Student Expelled For Refusing to Treat Gay Client, Wins $75,000 Payout

A  graduate student in the Eastern Michigan University counseling program who had been expelled for refusing to treat a gay client has received $75,000 from the school in a settlement.

“EMU has made the decision that is in the best interest of its students and the taxpayers of the state of Michigan to resolve the litigation rather than continue to spend money on a costly trial,” said spokesman Walter Kraft.

In 2009, Julea Ward was dismissed from her training, she claimed, because she declined to treat a gay client, instead passing him off to another counselor. EMU’s position was that Ward was dismissed for not following the American Counseling Association’s code of ethics.

A suit filed by The Alliance Defense Fund, the right-wing Christian legal group founded by anti-gay activists James Dobson and Donald Wildmon, petitioned the university to change its curriculum “to allow counseling students to refer clients elsewhere on issues related to same-sex relationships, abortion and premarital sex,” reports the Detroit Free Press.

Despite the settlement, Kraft says the school’s policies will remain intact. “The faculty retains its right to establish, in its learned judgment, the curriculum and program requirements for the counseling program at Eastern Michigan University.”

In a YouTube video for the Alliance Defense Fund, Ward said that she “never refused to counsel homosexuals” but “had simply refused to affirm their lifestyle.”

Source: Detroit Free Press