6th Circuit Hears Oral Arguments in Julie Ward Case, Grad Student Expelled for Religious Beliefs on Homosexuality


The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati, Ohio, on Tuesday heard oral arguments in the appeal of a former Eastern Michigan University graduate student who was expelled over her refusal to counsel a homosexual patient. The Christian Post has background:

Julie Ward enrolled in a counseling practicum course at EMU in 2009 in order to fulfill the requirements for her graduate degree. A few credits shy of finishing her degree, she was assigned a potential client who was seeking assistance regarding a homosexual relationship. However, as a Christian, Ward felt her values and beliefs on homosexuality and extra-marital affairs would not allow her to counsel the patient.[...] Consistent with ethical and professional standards on patient referral, Ward was advised to assign the patient to another counselor. But that’s when her trouble began.

Soon thereafter, Ward was informed the only way she could remain in the program was if she agreed to undergo a “remediation” program, with the sole purpose to help her “see the error of her ways” and change her “belief system,” as it related to homosexual relationships. After Ward refused, a disciplinary hearing was held, whereby an EMU faculty denigrated Ward’s Christian beliefs, leading another faculty member to ask Ward if she viewed her “brand” of Christianity as “superior” to that of other Christians. As a result of the hearing, Ward was dismissed from the counseling program and after appealing to the dean of the College of Education, her expulsion was upheld.