Jennifer Keeton, the student fighting
for her right to professionally express her anti-gay views, has lost
another legal round.
Keeton sued Augusta State University in
2010 after the school expelled her from its counseling program. The
school said that Keeton's anti-gay beliefs are incompatible with the
counseling profession. She argued that professors had violated her
right to free speech and the free exercise of her faith.
Judge J. Randall Hall ruled that the
university had not violated Keeton's rights, InsideHigherEd.com
Hall suggested that Keeton's difficulty
in discerning the difference between personal and professional values
“appears to have been rooted in her opinion that the immorality of
homosexual relations is a matter of objective and absolute moral
“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.”
According to the lawsuit, Keeton was
presented with a remediation plan in May 2010, in which faculty
members said her views on gay and transgender persons are
“professionally suspect.” The plan called for Keeton to attend a
minimum of three diversity workshops with an emphasis on the gay
community, increase her exposure and interaction with gay populations
(attending Gay Pride was suggested), and increase her study and
research on improving counseling effectiveness with LGBT people.
The graduate student was advised that
failure to complete the plan could result in dismissal from the
Keeton described the plan as an attack
on her religious beliefs. The plan would require her to “tell
clients wanting to hear it that homosexual sex is moral,” she said
in court papers.