Mich. AG Supports Antigay EMU Student
BY Advocate.com Editors
March 15 2011 7:10 AM ET
Michigan attorney general Bill Schuette has filed a court brief in support of a former Eastern Michigan University student who claims her religious beliefs were violated when the university dismissed her from its counseling program for refusing to counsel a gay client.
The case has drawn widespread attention with its implications for religious freedom and university rights. A federal judge sided with EMU over the student, Julea Ward, but she has appealed.
EMU maintains that Ward’s refusal to counsel a gay client failed to meet professional guidelines and curriculum requirements, thus necessitating her dismissal in 2009. Schuette disagreed in a brief filed Friday, according to the Detroit Free Press.
“There is a striking difference between EMU's written standards and EMU's application of those rules to Julea Ward," said the brief. "Indeed, the evidence suggests that Ward was punished and ultimately dismissed from the program solely for her attempt to exercise disfavored religious beliefs, not for a violation of the code.”
The brief also implies that Ward was dismissed because of political correctness, according to the Free Press. It suggests "that EMU 'weeded out' Ward solely because of her religious views to ensure that only candidates with the 'right' beliefs are admitted to the counseling profession."