11th Circuit Sides with CDC Against Woman Who Refused to do Same-Sex Counseling


One News Now:

A federal appeals court has upheld the firing of a Christian counselor who lost her job at the Centers for Disease Control for refusing to advise a woman in a homosexual relationship.

Marcia Walden launched a lawsuit in 2008 saying she was illegally laid off by a company the CDC hired to provide counseling to CDC workers. She said the CDC requested the dismissal.

Walden said the layoff violated her free exercise rights under the First Amendment and her rights under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. But on Tuesday, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta upheld a federal judge's dismissal of Walden's claims.

"We accept that Ms. Walden's sincerely held religious beliefs prohibit her from encouraging or supporting same-sex relationships though counseling," the court said. But the record in the case is "devoid of evidence" supporting her claim that she was removed because she needed to refer potential clients engaged in same-sex relationships to other counselors.

In response, the Alliance Defense Fund has released a statement that reads: "A counselor who is a Christian shouldn't lose her job for upholding the highest professional standards. It is unlawful to punish a Christian for abiding by her faith, particularly when she made every effort to accommodate the interests of a potential client. We are disappointed that the court ruled against these fundamental principles, but we are determining next steps to ultimately vindicate Marcia and the freedoms for which she's fighting."