Back in July I wrote about Jennifer Keeton, who wanted to be a counselor, and was taking courses at Augusta State University in Georgia [see post HERE]. School officials felt she could not effectively counsel others because Jennifer Keeton believes homosexuality is immoral and a choice, and so they asked Keeton to enroll in a remediation program, attend Atlanta Pride and submit papers to her tutors detailing how her views had changed so that she might have more reasonable and open-minded beliefs about LGBT people.
In order to make a good counselor.
Well, Jennifer Keeton wanted none of that, so she filed a lawsuit because that’s what people do when they don’t get their way in this country.
But now a federal court judge has ruled that Augusta University was “academically legitimate” in asking Keeton to read material about counseling gays and increase her exposure to the LGBT community.
Judge Randal Hall’s decision will now allow university officials to expel Jennifer Keeton if she doesn’t follow the suggested remediation plan, which professors designed to “address issues of multicultural competence and develop understanding and empathy.”
Is that so wrong?
Judge Hall said that the case is not about “pitting Christianity against homosexuality,” which is how Keeton portrayed it, but rather it was about the constitutionality of the university’s requirement.
Counseling professors had asked Keeton to complete the remediation plan after she announced to them that she opposed homosexuality and that she would tell prospective gay clients “their behavior is morally wrong and then help the client change that behavior.”
Keeton then filed a lawsuit against the school, alleging the requirement was viewpoint discrimination and a violation of her First Amendment rights, but Judge Hall ruled that Keeton “failed to clearly establish her high burden of persuasion of a ‘substantial likelihood’ of success of the merits of her case.”
In addition, Keeton provided no evidence that ASU faculty imposed the remediation plan because they personally disagreed with her views, Hall said. Jennifer Keeton, in fact, did not even testify at the hearing nor did she present any witnesses in support of her motion.
ASU professors, however, did testify that the remediation was not a punishment for Jennifer Keeton voicing her beliefs, but it was a tool to teach her how to counsel clients while not imposing her views.
Again. Is that so wrong?
Judge Hall decided Jennifer Keeton’s unwillingness to adhere to the school’s viewpoint-neutral code of ethics set by the American Counseling Association constituted a refusal to complete the curriculum. And without completing the remediation plan, Keeton will be unable to begin classes at the college as part of a practicum.
Jennifer Keeton is already re-enrolled at an Augusta Christian School where she’ll be allowed to continue her lack of education.