Ga. Religious Student Can’t Flout Ethics Rules

A Georgia college student who was kicked out of her counseling degree program because she would have refused to work with homosexual patients has lost a court case in which she claimed religious discrimination.

Jennifer Keeton was pursuing an advanced degree at Augusta State University until it came to light that she views homosexuality as immoral and indicated an unwillingness to counsel gay clients.

School officials said professional ethics standards require counselors to treat all patients fairly and to abide by the standards. The school put Keeton on a remediation plan, which she refused to follow. She then took her case to court, arguing that she was a victim of religious discrimination and that her free speech rights were violated.

Keeton lost and was expelled from school. Had the school allowed Keeton to earn a degree despite her views, it could have lost accreditation for its counseling degree program.

Keeton then appealed to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and even with the help of the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), she lost again.

A three-judge panel said: “As the district court found, the evidence shows that the remediation plan was imposed because [Keeton] expressed an intent to impose her personal views on her clients, in violation of the American Counseling Association Code of Ethics….”

The ADF declined to comment to the Associated Press following the decision.