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Julea Ward, Michigan Counseling Student Expelled For Gay Views, Wins Settlement

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The Eastern Michigan University (EMU) student who was reportedly expelled from a counseling program because of her views on gay and lesbian lifestyles has resolved her legal battle.

As the Detroit Free Press is reporting, EMU announced it had settled a 2009 lawsuit filed by Julea Ward, a former student who had been enrolled in a masters' counseling program when she asked her superiors to refer a gay client to someone else.

"EMU has made the decision that is in the best interest of its students and the taxpayers of the state of Michigan to resolve the litigation rather than continue to spend money on a costly trial,” Walter Kraft, EMU’s vice president for communications, said in a written statement.

Ward will reportedly be given a $75,000 settlement from the university.

Among those to praise the settlement was Ward's legal counsel, Jeremy Tedesco. "Public universities shouldn’t force students to violate their religious beliefs to get a degree," he is quoted as saying.

At the time of her dismissal, Ward claimed to have told professors that her Christian faith prohibited her from affirming homosexual behavior, which she believed was immoral and a choice. She was expelled shortly thereafter despite being just a few classes short of her degree.

In a YouTube video for the Alliance Defense Fund describing her case, Ward said, "I had never refused to counsel homosexuals, I had simply refused to affirm their lifestyle." After requesting a formal review hearing, Ward noted, "I was met with more intolerance...unanimously, they decided to expel me from the program."

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