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Court OK’s Ga. College Expelling Counseling Student for Anti-Gay Views

by Jason St. Amand
National News Editor
Monday Jul 2, 2012

A judge has ruled that a college in Georgia had the right to punish a student believed that she could express her anti-gay views in her counseling career, reported.

In November 2011 the Associated Press reported that Jennifer Keeton, a graduate school counseling student at Augusta State University, said her First Amendment rights was violated when the school's officials punished her for her views on gay rights.

Keeton told her fellow classmates that she wanted to practice conversion therapy, a controversial therapy (that has been debunked) where a therapist attempts to turn a gay person straight.

The college's officials said it would be difficult for Keeton to work with gay clients and threatened to expel her if she did not attend LGBT friendly events, such as Augusta's gay pride parade. They were also worried that the student would practice conversion therapy on middle and high school students she was scheduled to meet with as part of her degree program.

After the school decided to expel her in 2010, Keeton filed a federal lawsuit against the school and said that the college wanted to get rid of her because she "holds Christian ethical convictions" on human sexuality and gender identity, AP notes.

Jude J. Randall Hall ruled in favor of the school had not violated the student's rights, however.

"Keeton's conflation of personal and professional values, or at least her difficulty in discerning the difference, appears to have been rooted in her opinion that the immorality of homosexual relations is a matter of objective and absolute moral truth," Hall said. "The policies which govern the ethical conduct of counselors, however, with their focus on client welfare and self-determination, make clear that the counselor's professional environs are not intended to be a crucible for counselors to test metaphysical or moral propositions."

Hall dismissed all of Keeton's claims and said, "when someone voluntarily chooses to enter a profession, he or she must comply with its rules and ethical requirements."

A similar incident occurred when Julea Ward, a counseling student from Eastern Michigan University, was expelled for refusing to treat gay and lesbian patients. Like Keeton, Ward claims that the school restricted her First Amendment rights as she was dismissed from her counseling program because of her views on gays. In January Ward was allowed to take her case before a federal court jury in Detroit.

"I had never refused to counsel homosexuals, I had simply refused to affirm their lifestyle," Ward says in a YouTube video.


  • Oh Jed said:, 2012-07-02 09:08:33

    These women have no business becoming counselors. In fact, Christian nuts shouldn’t be allowed to practice any profession where they can spew their caustic venom to people in a vulnerable state.

  • , 2012-07-02 14:27:12

    I’m not a male chauvinist, but these two broads need to go bake a cake. I feel sorry for their husbands, if they have them. They sound like the kind of women who had boyfriends who dumped her for another guy. These are very stupid women. And the first amendment guarantees your right to speak out against the government. The first amendment does not protect anyone from the repercussions of what they say, nor does it protect you from the rights of others to say what a dumb blond this woman is. Go volunteer at a church honey. Or better yet, go vacuum your husband’s floor.

  • , 2012-07-04 07:46:34

    Yet another example of narrow minded religious fanatics trying to impose their beliefs of everyone else. In response to these two women’s position. Thank God, and I do mean God, at least the God I pray to. That we live in a world that has evolved not devolved.

  • Wayne M., 2012-07-04 10:30:07

    Ms Keeton and Ms Ward have the right to believe homosexuality is wrong and even to express those opinions as private citizens. However, if becoming counselors they also have a moral obligation to be informed on the latest scientific and psychological research, study and knowledge concerning sexuality and sexual orientation. Furthermore, they must refrain from using their religion as an excuse to practice quack psychology such as conversion or reparative therapy. Furthermore, they need to recognize that their opinions on homosexuality are not the exclusive Christian view as many Christians, and Christian churches and organizations do not accept the homophobia espoused by the religious right.

  • , 2012-07-05 03:01:57

    I was in this kind of therapy to change me from gay to straight when I came out in 1963. I was told if I slept with enough girls I’d change. So I did-- with beautiful, wonderful girls. It was OK. But when a roommate of mine grabbed and kissed me, I suddenly realized why people made a big deal out of sex. But the therapy clouded the issue for me. I felt I had failed therapy and wondered if I could be straight. It’s taken a lifetime to get over this destructive "psychological" treatment.

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