Universities Can Ban Students Who Refuse To Treat Gay Patients As Normal Human Beings: Judge

Eastern Michigan University can kick out students in its counselor program who refuse to treat gay patients without telling them what they’re doing is disgusting, a federal judge ruled Monday.

Julea Ward (pictured) was axed from EMU’s graduate counseling program in March 2009 for, according to her attorneys at the Alliance Defense Fund, “not affirming homosexual behavior as morally acceptable.” The school requires counselors in training to accept gay clients — but Ward said instead she’d refer those clients to another counselor, because she could not treat them according to her religious beliefs. As Inside Higher Ed points out:

Eastern Michigan’s counseling program — like many others — requires its students to practice in ways that are consistent with the counseling association’s ethics code, including requirements that bar behavior that reflects an “inability to tolerate different points of view,” “imposing values” on clients or discrimination based on a number of factors, including sexual orientation. The counseling association does permit referrals, but they are supposed to be for the good of the client, not for the comfort of the counselor. Typically, a referral that would be seen as legitimate might involve a counselor referring someone to a colleague with expertise on a particular problem.

Ametrano, the Eastern Michigan professor, who was on the review panel that expelled Ward, said that the requirements that counselors work with clients of a range of views and background are essential. She noted that counselors regularly work with clients who make decisions about such matters as birth control, sex, drug use, abortion and many other choices that a counselor may or may not support. And clients come from a variety of backgrounds and sexual orientations. A counselor can’t be effective, she said, with litmus tests on who may be helped.

U.S. District Judge George Caram Steeh issued a 48-page summary judgment in favor of EMU in the lawsuit filed in April 2009, saying the school’s requirements — and adherence to the American Counseling Association’s ethics code — didn’t infringe on her right to religious expression, free expression, due process or equal protection. Says EMU in response: “We are pleased that the court has upheld our position in this matter. Julea Ward was not discriminated against because of her religion. To the contrary, Eastern Michigan is deeply committed to the education of our students and welcomes individuals from diverse backgrounds into our community.”

Sounds like Jennifer Keeton, the Augusta State University student kicked out of her counseling program for the same reason, and who the Alliance Defense Fund is also representing, was just dealt quite the uphill battle.

ADF plans to appeal Ward’s case.

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  • missanthrope


  • GaryG


  • Qjersey

    What is even more disgusting is that according to the article linked to above

    “…was admitted to the master’s program in 2006, with the goal of becoming a high school counselor.”

    Oh great just what our young people need, and even if she did graduate she would probably sue a high school for refusing to hire her for her beliefs.

    Also, the faculty correctly believe that “This is about behaviors that are appropriate or not appropriate within counseling…the university’s policies were consistent with the ethics code of the American Counseling Association and said that Eastern Michigan’s counseling program couldn’t keep its accreditation while ignoring the code.”

    So instead of suing schools, the christians should sue the American Counseling Association and the American Psychological Association…and good luck with that.

  • j

    @Qjersey: I think this is exactly the point. Christians (and more importantly, their defence) know damn well that they have no chance in hell of bringing their case against the american counseling association so instead they target schools in the hope that the negative publicity will force the schools to back down or atleast feed the victim complex of right wing lunatics everywhere. Too bad they’ll only succeed in one of those goals.

  • axos

    Good! Happy they didn’t give in to her, she could have ended up doing a lot of young people a lot of harm.

    Btw – are students being psychologically evaluated and counseled themselves as part of the education?


    I am sure this vile cunt would be on the front of the bandwagon protesting with a vengance if there was any sort of discrimination against her as a minority. Remeber you disgusting cunt it wasn’t too long ago that there you would have been forced to attend a separate school, with a bare bones budget not having the same opportunities as white students because bigoted scumbags decided they didn’t like you simply because of how you were born, same way as you are not spewing hate on Gay students……


    SP: “now” spewing………. damm you queerts put a preview feature in already!!!

  • Steve

    Of all places, she choose to pull this stunt in Ypsilanti? One of the most liberal, gay-freindly cities in Michigan? What an idiot.

  • Ronbo

    Religious bigotry was nipped in the bud in the New Testament. For those who remain Religious Bigots (Read: President “God is in the Mix” Obama), it IS their choice to hate.

    Equality is for everyone. Ward chooses to be a religious bigot.

  • DR

    I have a lot of feelings on this issue, some of which will be popular, some of which won’t….

    If you want to go into a school setting, as this young lady does, you need to be prepared to deal with all sorts of issues. While her goal may have been to get into a Christian school, in this economy, it’s not guaranteed that it would happen. If she is in a school environment there may be no opportunity to have a colleague take a case, and then what?

    I don’t see how the school was forcing her “to suppress her religious views”. As a professional, she needs to be able to put aside her own personal views and be able to work with all sorts of clients. She is allowed to express any religious view she likes, but the counseling session is NOT the place to do so unless you’re working for a Christian counseling center. Any expression of her views in a secular environment would be inappropriate.

    I do think it’s not appropriate to force her to accept LGBT clients, however, even in practicals. Now the next student will hide his or her views for fear of being expelled, and be unprepared for the real world. I’d rather see good counselors (and by all accounts this woman knew her stuff) who say “here’s someone who can help you better than I can” than see a mediocre counselor try to help someone s/he is clearly unable to help. And that’s going to be a consequence of this case. Then who suffers? The clients.

    Even the ACA guidelines are unclear. Here are some excerpts:

    -Standard A.1.a. (“Primary Responsibility”), however, states that “the primary responsibility of counselors is to respect the dignity and to promote the welfare of clients.”

    -Standard A.4.a. (“Avoiding Harm”), which says, “Counselors act to avoid harming their clients, trainees and research participants and to minimize or to remedy unavoidable or unanticipated harm.”

    -Professionals also engage in treatment only after appropriate educational and clinical training and do not practice outside of their areas of competence (Standard C.2.a., “Boundaries of Competence”). This standard clearly states that “counselors practice only within the boundaries of their competence, based on their education, training, supervised experience, state and national professional credentials, and appropriate professional experience.” In addition, per Standard C.2.b. (“New Specialty Areas of Practice”), “Counselors practice in specialty areas new to them only after appropriate education, training and supervised experience. While developing skills in new specialty areas, counselors take steps to ensure the competence of their work and to protect others from possible harm.”

    -Standard A.11.b. (“Inability to Assist Clients”) states, “If counselors determine an inability to be of professional assistance to clients, they avoid entering or continuing counseling relationships. Counselors are knowledgeable about culturally and clinically appropriate referral resources and suggest these alternatives.”

    -Standard D.1.a. (“Different Approaches”) reminds us that “counselors are respectful of approaches to counseling services that differ from their own.”

    What I’m seeing here, as a licensed professional (not in counseling) is a real catch 22. Many fields want to encourage variety of opinion and student bodies, but then we get situations like this where students are being forced to choose between a very real calling and a school administrator or Judge’s interpretation of professional standards. I wonder if the ACA was consulted on this one. It should have been, IMO. The ACA ought to be the one to interpret its guidelines, not judges.

    Overall I think this particular woman was a poor test case due to her desire to go into secondary educational counseling where you don’t get to pick and choose your clients. But for those who choose a more narrow, private practice, this is chilling. It comes across as a political litmus test for candidates, and that’s not cool.

  • biguy

    It is great to see an avowed bigot be denied access to their career choice of fucking with the minds of impressionable young people.

  • mojojojo

    just another example of the rampant homophobia of the blacks!

  • biguy

    um yeah the like the other article on here not a week ago about the blonde from Augusta GA being kicked out of a counseling program for the same reason.

  • Kev C

    I hope the ADF spends lots and lots of money trying to defend Ward and Keeton, until the ADF is bankrupt.

  • Ian

    @axos: “Btw – are students being psychologically evaluated and counseled themselves as part of the education?”

    Yes, when you are in an academic counseling program and you are counseling others, it is a requirement for the student/future counselor to have counseling themselves to reflect on the cases and how they would handle them professionally, but also to reflect on if any of the cases affects them personally.

  • Jeffree

    @Ian: that’s called “clinical supervision” not “counseling”.

    The ACA doesn’t require candidates to undergo counseling or to have gone through counseling, but many programs do encourage students to experience counseling as a client. It’s not a requirement for licensure.

  • Jae

    @mojojojo: You are an idiot.

  • JonDorian

    Wow… I was never ashamed of my school but, before today, I was never really all that proud of it either. Good show, EMU.

  • James T.

    THIS is precisely why every gay person should be anti religion.

    And I’m sure this same chick would be waving a race card, if God forbid you even looked at her the wrong way. Nothing disgusts me more than “minorities” who only see their civil rights agenda being the only civil rights agenda to exist.

    Julea Ward, put your civil rights flag away unless you’re willing to understand other civil rights (outside the one that affects you) you uneducated, small minded bigot.


    @James T.: Shut up. You just “conveniently” made this about race, when nothing in this story makes mention of it at all. Yet you have the audacity to accuse this woman of playing theoretical race cards when/if she doesn’t get her way, based on nothing but a scenario you conjured up in your own prejudiced head — fueled only by the fact that you see that she’s a black woman. Hmmm. I guess a bigot can spot a bigot, eh?

    Before you accuse someone else of being a hypocrite, reread what you type…

  • Robert

    Today I went to the pool at my apt complex with another gay guy. As we were leaving, a black man said “what you fags lookin’ at”? It surely wasn’t his corn-row, snoop-dog ass or his white tank top. Gross.

    True story, you can make what you want of it.

  • ewe

    @Robert: Black evangelicals are pawns of historical oppression. Which is to say “stupid” in laymens terms.

  • JDE97

    @Robert: And who died and made you Calvin Klein? Did he ask you for a fashion critique? If while gawking at this guy, you and your friend had looks on your faces that were as cynical & snide as the tone of your post is, then I’m not surprised he reacted in a way that wasn’t particularly cordial. If I were him, I wouldn’t have called you fags, but I would have said something you probably wouldn’t have liked just the same.

  • sammy

    Being gay does not justify turning America into a communist nation, where everybody has to approve of your perverted lifestyle. This is what EMU is doing. I hope her case gets appealed and ruled in her favor.

Comments are closed.