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Expelled Gay
Student's Case Dismissed

Expelled Gay
Student's Case Dismissed

The Florida supreme court has declined to hear a case for a man who was kicked out of a Christian school four years ago for being gay.

The Florida supreme court has declined to hear a case of a man who was kicked out of a Christian school four years ago for being gay. Jeffrey Woodard's case was dismissed, with two of the seven judges dissenting, ThePalm Beach Post reported Friday.

The short ruling said the court would not rule on an issue that a lower court considered a matter of great public importance. The justices also said they would not hear the case against Jupiter Christian School's chaplain, Todd Bellhorn, who promised Woodard that he would keep his sexual orientation a secret. Woodard, who was 17 at the time, was expelled once administrators were told he is gay.

Woodard's attorney, William Booth, said the court's refusal to hear the case should alert others who confide in clergy. However, John Bryan, the school's attorney, said the supreme court's intervention in the matter would violate the separation of church and state. He also said that Bellhorn is not a cleric and that Woodard was openly gay to friends, which no longer made that information confidential.

"The confidentiality is Woodard's," he told the Post. "It's not the school's."

Dissenting justice Barbara Pariente criticized her ruling colleagues, saying the decision created confusion.

"The emotional distress Woodard allegedly suffered as a result of the school chaplain's breach of confidentiality is at least equal to that typically suffered by the victim of a defamation or an invasion of privacy," she wrote, referring to those who have collected damages purely for emotional distress, according to the article. (The Advocate)

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