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Antigay Counselor to Press Legal Fight

Antigay Counselor to Press Legal Fight

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Lawyers for a Christian graduate student in counseling who lost her case against Eastern Michigan University for refusing to treat a gay client have vowed to appeal the case all the way to the Supreme Court, if necessary.

According to, last week a federal court upheld Ypsilanti-based EMU's move to boot graduate student Julea Ward from its counseling program when she refused to affirm a gay client's relationship during a practicum. Ward believes that homosexuality is immoral and that it is a choice.

"But Ward's lawyers said the case is far from over," reported AnnArbor.com. "They will file an appeal, and in the meantime are setting the stage for a battle between the religious rights of students and a university's power to set and uphold its own ethical, disciplinary and curricular standards. The case could have implications reaching far outside of Ypsilanti."

In her lawsuit, filed with support from the Alliance Defense Fund, Ward charged that her dismissal for refusing to treat the gay client violated her rights to free speech, religion, and due process.

ADF lawyer Jeremy Tedesco said his group would press the case as far as necessary, according to AnnArbor.com.

"If it's upheld, Christians can be told you have to abandon your beliefs to get a degree in counseling," he said. "They could be excluded from counseling programming."

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