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Mich. AG backs student against university

March 15, 2011 at 3:56 PM   |   Comments

LANSING, Mich., March 15 (UPI) -- The Michigan attorney general is backing a former Eastern Michigan University student who says she was a victim of religious discrimination.

Attorney General Bill Schuette filed a brief Friday on behalf of Julea Ward, who is appealing a federal district court's ruling on behalf of the university. Ward was dismissed from a graduate counseling program after she refused to provide counseling to a homosexual who wanted help with relationship issues, the Detroit Free Press reported.

The university says Ward failed to abide by the guidelines and ethical rules of the American Counseling Association. In legal papers, it suggests Ward, who wanted to be a school counselor, would have to set aside her own belief that homosexuality is morally wrong.

Ward has support from a number of conservative religious rights groups, while the other Michigan universities, gay rights groups and the American Civil Liberties Union and Americans United for Separation of Church and State back EMU.

Schuette, in his brief, said EMU did not follow its own written standards in Ward's case. A spokesman, John Sellek, said the attorney general also believes the university violated her constitutional right to religious freedom.

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