VICTORY: University Settles with Christian Julea Ward After Court Rules "Tolerance is a Two-Way Street"


Excellent news from the Alliance Defending Freedom:

Eastern Michigan University has agreed to settle an Alliance Defending Freedom lawsuit filed on behalf of Julea Ward, a graduate student whom the university expelled from a counseling program for abiding by her religious beliefs. As a result, a federal district court issued an agreed-upon order of dismissal Monday. 

Even though counseling referrals are a common and accepted professional practice, the university expelled Ward when she sought to avoid violating her religious beliefs by referring a potential client to another counselor. In January, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit ruled in her favor.

“Public universities shouldn’t force students to violate their religious beliefs to get a degree. The 6th Circuit rightly understood this and ruled appropriately, so the university has done the right thing in settling this case,” said Senior Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco, who argued before the court in October of last year. “When Julea sought to refer a potential client to another qualified counselor--a common, professional practice that is endorsed by her profession’s code of ethics--EMU denied the referral. Then it attacked and questioned her religious beliefs, ultimately expelling her from the program. We are pleased that Julea and her constitutionally protected rights have been vindicated.”

Visit our Marriage Anti-Defamation Alliance page to learn more about citizens who have experienced discrimination and harassment for their pro-marriage views.


  1. Zack
    Posted December 11, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    A victory for the 1st amendment.

  2. Posted December 11, 2012 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    No group of people are more intolerant than homofascists, and this case proves it.

  3. Quinn
    Posted December 11, 2012 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    @Mantronikk - well said.

  4. tom langley
    Posted December 11, 2012 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

    A great day indeed! Here is hoping that the US Supreme Court will rule for traditional marriage. There is a linked article on the Drudge report that says that scientists have possibly found an epi-mark genetic component to homosexuality. The article said that with further research that this could be proven or disproven in 6 months. If this research is correct then perhaps a "cure" could be found for homosexuality for those who don't want to be homosexual. This will drive the pro-gay crowd nuts!

  5. OvercameSSA
    Posted December 11, 2012 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    Interesting, @tom. The "born that way" argument cuts in both directions. Ultimately, I think it would come down to whether parents want homosexual children or not; if they don't, then a cure would take care of the issue of homosexual marriage (and other sexual preference-related issues) by default. I don;t know of any parents who want their kids to be homosexuals.

  6. Posted December 11, 2012 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    There's always a cure, for everything... His name is God!!

  7. Tim
    Posted December 11, 2012 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

    But the college still is not going to change it's procedures. The next person who has this issue will be subject to the same discipline. The college just settled so they wouldn't be subject to a trial.

  8. Son of Adam
    Posted December 11, 2012 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

    Then they'll be taken to court again! They have no authority to violate people's religious liberties.

  9. M. jones
    Posted December 11, 2012 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

    Protection of liberty with ability to counsel clients who are not living a healthy and moral lifestyle.

  10. James
    Posted December 12, 2012 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

    So then a University should be forced to keep a Christian Scientist Dr. on staff when he refers all of his patients that want medication and surgery because it is against his "religious liberty" to do his job? And please tell me how helping someone who is gay violates ANYONE'S religious liberties. If helping "sinners" violates her "religious beliefs", then surely she can't do her job. The bible says were are all sinners, no? There is a solution to all of this, and it is called POLITENESS. If she had had a little more tact rather than an (unprofessional) desire to be a martyr, she could have found a reasonable reason to refer that was not so insulting to her patient. In essence, she should have ACTED like the Christian she claims to be. Simple.

  11. Ash
    Posted December 12, 2012 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

    James, she didn't insult her client. She didn't even discuss this matter with them. She was assigned to counsel someone on a homosexual relationship, didn't want to do it for religious reasons, consulted with her supervisor who told her to refer the client, did so, was attacked by university officials and expelled, then sued the university and won in court. The university could not present a shred of evidence showing that referrals are not allowed, and that's because the referral of clients is standard practice for her profession.

    I'm so happy she received justice.

  12. James
    Posted December 12, 2012 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

    She obviously insulted someone or else she would not have gotten the boot. If the U has a nondiscrimination policy and their employee was unable to adhere to the policy I see no reason why she should not get the boot. Again, how is counselling a gay person on relationship issues an affront to her religious liberty? Does she then have a right to refuse to help someone who is cheating on their wife? A kleptomaniac? Someone who covets their neighbor's wife? Someone who is a idol worshiping pagan? A trained professional should be able to provide help (that is her job) to a wide range of people, and helping a gay person with their relationship is in no way condoning the relationship that is contrary to her religious beliefs. If she can't handle it, she needs to get a new job or become a Christian Counselor (as opposed to a counselor who is Christian). Again, there was a simple solution here that would have avoided all of this hubbub and would have saved all of the parties involved a great deal of hassle, drama, $ and face. She could have been POLITE and DIGNIFIED and simply stated something reasonable but benign like "I know his mother", "I see him out and about frequently" or a myriad of other things. By bringing up the issue of his orientation, the purpose of the requested help and her religious beliefs she set herself up (purposely I believe) to be a martyr when she should have been doing the job she was paid to do. Martyr on your own dime. Would you expect a city bus driver to be able to keep his job if he stopped the bus on route 5 times a day to prostrate to Mecca? How would this be "justice" or even REASONABLE? Her case is NO DIFFERENT than this example. If your religious beliefs prevent you from doing your job, you have no right to retain that job. A Jew who is hired to work on Saturday has no right to retain his job if he refuses to do it because his religious beliefs prohibits it, and a Jew who is hired to work in the school cafeteria has no right to his job if he refuses to serve the cheese steak sandwich with a side of popcorn shrimp. The issue here is not at all complex.

  13. Ash
    Posted December 12, 2012 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

    She insulted no one. She was booted from the program because she held politically incorrect religious beliefs. Her situation is not “exactly like” a bus driver, or any of the other examples you gave. That’s another thing you need to get straight about this story: she was not working for anyone. She was a student that was doing an internship for her academic program, and was expelled for ideological nonconformity. For this reason, the court said that the university can’t require people to have the same beliefs in order to get a degree, and use a bogus, made-up restriction against referrals as a means to do so.

    In that kind of field, referrals are done for all sorts of reasons. So, yes, she could make a referral for a client who was cheating on their spouse, if she thought a referral was best for her and the client. If a counselor once suffered infidelity in his/her own marriage, and they encountered a relationship that had a presenting problem of infidelity, then that counselor may very well be inclined to make a referral if s/he believes that their personal situation would harm the delivery of services to that client. One of the ideas behind referrals is that the client should have the best services, and if the practitioner believes that their biases or beliefs will hamper their ability to deliver those services, a referral may be appropriate.

    Lying and saying that she knows the client’s mother, etc. as a way to refer him/her would not have been a “simple” solution to the matter. Not only would she be lying, but she would have set herself up for future pitfalls. It’s totally unnecessary, as referrals are done for all sorts of reasons. Why should she have lied to give an answer that *you* consider to be suitable? You need to ask her why counseling a homosexual relationship offends her religious sensibilities; but she is not obligated to answer your query. She acted appropriately.

  14. Chairm
    Posted December 13, 2012 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    The idealogues who dominate our universities and colleges also have huge influence on the gatekeeping responsibilities to the professions. This was a case of brazenly abusing the accreditation process to stomp out any variance from the idealogical purity. Again we see how unreasonable are the hockers of gay identity politics where they have the upperhand and can coerce with a very heavy hand. They count on this abusive relationship with students and with qualified applicants. Carrot and stick for the supremacy rather than professional integrity -- that is the way of totalitarian systems such as communism and facism.

    Why oue society puts up with this freedom destroying corruption among the educational elites, I find hard to understand. Sure I see the power grab of these idealogues and understand their ways and means are designed to serve their dogmatic and narrow view of society, however, why send our youth into their clutches and payout millions for the "priviege"?

    Enough is enough. This nonsense corrupts the professions -- from law to health to education itself. It is a form of insanity.

  15. James Meyer
    Posted December 15, 2012 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

    YES! It's a shame it took so long, but it's good to see things work out. I put up with deployment exercises to protect the rights of women like this, not to watch her get trampled by fanatically-endorsed society-altering agendas.

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