Michigan Seeks to Protect Counselors’ Rights



As the case of Julea Ward, a graduate student expelled from Eastern Michigan University for referring to another counselor a lesbian seeking help with her same-sex relationship, wends its way through the federal courts, Michigan legislators are considering a bill to keep others from suffering the same way in the future.

On Oct. 5 — one day after Ward’s case was heard by a three-judge panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals — state Rep. Joe Haveman introduced HB 5040, a bill specifically protecting the religious liberties of counseling students at public universities. A similar bill is being shepherded through the Senate by Minority Floor Leader Tupac A. Hunter.

Michigan Family Forum Director Brad Snavely said legislators hope to pass a bill this autumn. He also was on hand for the arguments at the 6th Circuit, and said the panel seemed favorable to Ward.