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Michigan Stepping up for Religious Students

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OneNewsNow — The Michigan House has passed a bill named after an Eastern Michigan University (EMU) student who was kicked out of the school’s counseling program because of her faith.

In 2009, Julea Ward was expelled from the university’s counseling program because of her Christian beliefs, particularly against homosexuality. But earlier this year, the Sixth U.S. Circuit of Appeals sided with the student, ruling that “a reasonable jury would conclude that Ward’s professors ejected her from the counseling program because of hostility toward her speech and faith ….” That opinion reversed an earlier district court decision in favor of the university.

Now, the “Julea Ward Freedom of Conscience Act” has been proposed and approved by the House. It prohibits religious discrimination against college students studying counseling, social work and psychology. Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) attorney Jeremy Tedesco is defending Ward in her lawsuit against EMU.

“We certainly welcome their efforts to protect the rights of their citizens,” he comments. “Public universities like Eastern Michigan University shouldn’t be able to require students to give up or abandon their religious beliefs as a condition of getting a degree.”

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