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Judge rejects Keeton lawsuit

ASU requirements deemed 'legitimate'

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Augusta State University's requirement that a graduate student read material about counseling gays and increase her exposure to that community after she objected to counseling homosexual clients was "academically legitimate," a federal court judge ruled Friday.

Jennifer Keeton
Jennifer Keeton

U.S. District Judge Randal Hall's decision enables university officials to expel Jennifer Keeton if she does not follow the remediation plan, which professors designed to "address issues of multicultural competence and develop understanding and empathy."

Hall said the case is not about "pitting Christianity against homosexuality," but rather the constitutionality of the school's requirement.

Professors asked Keeton to complete the remediation plan after she said she opposed homosexuality and would tell gay clients "their behavior is morally wrong and then help the client change that behavior," according to an affidavit filed in the case.

Keeton filed a lawsuit against the school in July, alleging the requirement was viewpoint discrimination and a violation of her First Amendment rights.

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."

She provided no evidence that ASU faculty imposed the remediation plan because they personally disagreed with her views, Hall said.

In an Aug. 11 hearing, ASU professors testified that the plan was not a punishment for voicing her beliefs, but a tool to teach Keeton how to counsel clients while not imposing her views.

"All three professors testified that they never told (Keeton) that she was required to change her religious beliefs in order to stay in the counseling program," Hall wrote.

He noted that Keeton did not testify at the hearing nor present any witnesses in support of her motion.

Hall said Keeton's unwillingness to adhere to the school's viewpoint-neutral code of ethics set by the American Counseling Association constitutes a refusal to complete the curriculum.

Without completing the remediation plan, Keeton was unable to begin classes at the college as part of a practicum. A filing by her lawyers earlier this week said she had begun the work at Augusta Christian School.

Hall ruled the plan was simply a way to teach Keeton how to counsel all demographics of clients.

"It was not (Keeton's) personal beliefs that were their concern, but rather only her inability to separate her personal beliefs in the judgment-free zone of a professional counseling situation," Hall said.

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Dixieman
15000
Points
Dixieman 08/21/10 - 10:44 am
0
0
What is wrong with her

What is wrong with her lawyers? To win a preliminary injunction, you have to show substantial likelihood of ultimate success in the case on the merits and irreparable injury. First year law students know that YOU CANNOT DO THIS IF YOU DO NOT PRESENT ANY WITNESSES FOR YOUR SIDE! No wonder she lost at this stage....

Willow Bailey
20580
Points
Willow Bailey 08/21/10 - 10:50 am
0
0
Dixieman, I thought the same

Dixieman, I thought the same thing and also wondered if a legal mind would see that perhaps there could be an alternate legal plan hatching. I read the order, and Keeton's defense put up nothing. I wouldn't go before the judge without putting up a defense. Her attorneys are experienced in these matters. What do you think or were you just teasing about being an attorney?

Aura68
0
Points
Aura68 08/21/10 - 10:54 am
0
0
If Ms. Keeton was telling the

If Ms. Keeton was telling the truth surely there must have been one student somewhere past or present that could validate her claim against ASU. Just one, anywhere....
The fact that she didn't present a single witness speaks volumes. If anyone had bothered to read the brief she filed with the court they would have seen that no where in there was there proof that any professor told her she had to change her beliefs. It was all her interpertation of the events.

Riverman1
84130
Points
Riverman1 08/21/10 - 10:55 am
0
0
Willow, I'd like to hear

Willow, I'd like to hear Dixieman's view too. He is not teasing about being a lawyer...a Harvard educated one, no less, but he is also a veteran, so I can't hold the Harvard thing against him.

Riverman1
84130
Points
Riverman1 08/21/10 - 10:56 am
0
0
Maybe they held her pic up in

Maybe they held her pic up in court, the one after she had dumped the Clorox on her head, and thought that would work?

Aura68
0
Points
Aura68 08/21/10 - 10:57 am
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0
Willow, the only alternate

Willow, the only alternate plan I can see is they wanted this girl to have her 15 minutes of fame. She's had triple that and it's time for her to choose a different profession or a different school.

smbga
38
Points
smbga 08/21/10 - 11:01 am
0
0
don't get discouraged Ms.

don't get discouraged Ms. Keeton. I stand with you!

OJP
6666
Points
OJP 08/21/10 - 11:11 am
0
0
dougk - One and a half weeks

dougk - One and a half weeks is lightning speed in the judicial system.

Willow Bailey
20580
Points
Willow Bailey 08/21/10 - 12:04 pm
0
0
Aura68, It's hard to believe

Aura68, It's hard to believe David French would put his name on this, represent her, and just throw her to the wind. Surely, there is more than we see at this time. I went through the 28 pages; and I am not arguing/disagreeing with Judge Hall; based on what it looks like was presented, what else could he rule? After having gone through this, she may even want a different profession, a different school, who knows?

The only thing that I am sure of is this: If she learns through this to put her focus on the Lord, and learns to interpret her circumstances through God, rather than God through her circumstances; she will win through losing.

freeradical
1077
Points
freeradical 08/21/10 - 12:07 pm
0
0
Feb. 19 2009, Four government

Feb. 19 2009,

Four government workers (in San Diego Ca.) won their lawsuit againest

the taxpayer funded institiution that "suggested" they attend the gay

pride parade in San Diego.

Of course their case was decided by a group of fair minded jurors and

not by a taxpayer funded activist judge deeply concerned with his

taxpayer funded future in an increasingly politically correct world, as well

as with salving the souls of his fellow taxpayer funded ASU brethren.

"ALL EMPLOYEES ARE ENCOURAGED TO PARTICIPATE"
(San Diego Fire Chief Tracy Jarman)

Fire Chief Jarman being an open homosexual by the way.

Of course her "PERSONAL BELIEFS" played no more a role in her

suggesting that people attend the gay pride event than did

the "PERSONAL BELIEFS" of the ASU brain trust in doing the exact same

thing.

The jury (not a lone activist judge) found that the gay festivities

included, "simulated sex acts" as well as verbal references to sexual acts,

predilictions etc,etc,,,,,,.

The jury (not a lone activist judge) also found the taxpayer funded

institution could not restrict, punish, prohibit anyone working for the

institution from:

"ABSTAINING FROM ACTIVITIES THAT THEY CONSIDER
MORALLY OFFENSIVE"

The activist judge is right about one thing, "this is not about christianity".

California not being a well known stronghold for religious

fundementalisim, and sodomy being historically considered abhorrent

activity on cultural and religious basises too multiple to ever be condensed

down to just one.

Take the determination concerning the actions of taxpayer funded

activist professors, fire chiefs, etc,etc,,, away from taxpayer funded

activist judges taking days to weigh the reprecussions of what taxpayer

funded officials might be impressed or displeased with their decision, and

put it in the hands of fair minded jurors,uninterested in buttering

the bread of their taxpayer funded brethren and they will get it

right every time when it

comes to official "suggestion" that people attend gay sex festivities.

Califorinia & San Diego prove it right time and time again.

palmetto1007
0
Points
palmetto1007 08/21/10 - 11:54 am
0
0
No, OJP...preliminary

No, OJP...preliminary injunction decisions are typically made with lightning speed...as the judge indicated last week.

impossible
124
Points
impossible 08/21/10 - 11:58 am
0
0
Logically read, though logic
Unpublished

Logically read, though logic is offensive to liberals, the first comment in this post by Momma mia says it all. If you take her comment and opinion to their logical conclusion: No one is fit to counsel anyone, because everyone has "personal beliefs" and no one leaves them at home when they go out into the world.
The ASU policy is in effect, not only discriminatory, but the academic application of, "Don't ask; don't tell."
Unless every student is required to take remediation steps (consciousness raising; sensitivity training; values clarification), no one should have to do so.
Shame on Judge Hall for dissing the Constitutional right of Freedom of Speech.

momster59
0
Points
momster59 08/21/10 - 12:02 pm
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0
FreeRadical - your posting

FreeRadical - your posting does not apply to this case. In the CA decision, the workplace was attempting to coerce by intimidation all of its employees to attend an off hours (nonpaid) event using intimidation in the workplace.

In Ms. Keeton's case, she was given an very large range of remediation activities she could choose from. She chose to do NONE of the remediation.

I do not understand the "christian" fear of being in close contact with the homosexual community. I attended both the parade and the festival and met a great number of wonderful people and came out with my heterosexuality completely intact. Makes you wonder what they are REALLY afraid of......

momster59
0
Points
momster59 08/21/10 - 12:05 pm
0
0
Impossible - good thing that

Impossible - good thing that Judge Hall is better versed in Constitutional Rights than you. I find your online name fits your logic.

Willow Bailey
20580
Points
Willow Bailey 08/21/10 - 12:16 pm
0
0
momster, do you hold out even

momster, do you hold out even a small possibility that what she may be afraid of is feeling that she was dishonoring God through going to the event?

And please someone who read the 28 page decision correct me if I am wrong, (not going back to look again) but it did not sound like a pick and choose your remediation plan proposal, but rather that she must complete all 12 requirements to their satisfaction (which would include saying she doesn't believe the activity to be morally wrong) in order to graduate.

If ASU doesn't want any christian thought or beliefs in their school or in certain classes, maybe they should print that in bold letters at the top of the application. It would then help students and parents make better decisions regarding enrollment. It would be a win-win, don't you think?

freeradical
1077
Points
freeradical 08/21/10 - 12:17 pm
0
0
Momster, It is the exact same

Momster,

It is the exact same thing.

Taxpayer funded activists "suggesting" those subordinate to them attend

gay parade.

Identical.

The lone activist judge is right about one thing.

This is not about christianity.

California not being a stronghold for christianity.

Sodomy is considered abhorrent behavior on so many cultural and

religious levels it is impossible to condense down to just one.

palmetto1007
0
Points
palmetto1007 08/21/10 - 12:22 pm
0
0
Willow....that's a pretty

Willow....that's a pretty broad brush you're using in your last statement. This woman is in a professional program in which she is learning to become a practitioner in field that is based on empirical evidence and decades practice that has been evaluated. Certainly, ASCU or that program is not barring Christian thought or beliefs.....as the judge so accurately pointed out in his decision.

momster59
0
Points
momster59 08/21/10 - 12:27 pm
0
0
FreeRadical - will have to

FreeRadical - will have to disagree. In Ms. Keeton's case, she was seeking to obtain a certification in a field in which she must work with different groups without bias. She knew this entering into the study program, yet expressed on multiple occasions her inability to work with this group of people. The suggestion of the parade was one of MANY she could have chosen. None of the rest of the choices involved the parade or festival. She could have chosen from the list and NOT chosen the parade. She chose to do NONE of the remediation, not even the academic to improve her writing skills.
In the workplace, the workers were being intimidated into going to the parade, on their own time, without compensation. They were not students, they were employees and the parade had nothing to do with their job. There were no other choices. While it was a "suggestion", it was done in such a way as to amount to intimidation, and they were offered no other choices.

tmimbs
0
Points
tmimbs 08/21/10 - 12:27 pm
0
0
Prior to this case, I had

Prior to this case, I had never been aware that there was a community of regular posters and responders on this website. After several weeks of observation here and a few posts of my own, I have reached a few conclusions of my own about this "community". Please keep in mind that these are simply my opinions and observations and they are just as subject to human frailties as anyone else's. If they can be knocked down with truth, so be it.

First, there seem to be far too many on all sides of an issue who are willing to declare "facts" without being being willing to back those "facts" up with any documented evidence. Then, when confronted with evidence which seems to contradict what are really just opinions, they seem to either ignore the evidence or to attack the messenger for bringing the evidence to light.

This kind of behavior is usually an indication that one is not secure in his/her beliefs. Or it could be that one may be internally conflicted and may be trying to justify what their internal instincts are telling them is wrong, but their fleshly desires are telling them to fight for. In any event, I don't think such practices are productive in furthering profitable public dialog.

As a matter of full disclosure, I choose to cast my belief lot with that which has proven to me to be reliable and profitable in times of all manner of troubles and difficulties, with that which has proven to me to contain reliable answers to the most difficult questions in life and that which has stood strong over thousands of years of the most vicious and brutal attacks ever devised my mankind. That, of course, is the Holy Bible as written in the original manuscripts.

I realize that this choice requires faith, but so does every other philosophy of life that one can ever explore. I am just thankful that the Lord didn't doesn't require me to have faith in that which cannot stand up to scrutiny of evidence and that I can proudly and confidently carry the banner of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, without fear of legitimate contradiction by any man. This is true even in the times when I am at my weakest and most sinful points, which is far too often.

I have also chosen to cast my lot with that which nature itself has made very clear. The miraculous human body was obviously designed to have sexual interaction between the male and female genders. Just as we can choose to hammer the proverbial "square peg into the round hole", which can happen with enough stubborness an brute force, we cannot expect the end result to be free from damage as a result of these actions.

However, I realize it is fruitless to try and share such a philosophy and the evidence which supports it with many on this board because they have already chosen their course and no manner of discussion or evidence will move them. The Scripture teaches us that there are times in life when we must sadly "shake the dust off our sandles" and move on.

I have come to admire many of you on this board who are great defenders of your faith and I even admire a few of you agnostics and atheists who are at least willing to have a civilized discussion without viciously attacking those of us who have a literal belief in the Bible.

For those of you lurking here that might be genuinley trying to learn what this case is all about, I do think that a little intellectual honesty is needed here. I respectfully think that Judge Hall was sadly mistaken when he said; " Keeton's unwillingness to adhere to the school's viewpoint-neutral code of ethics set by the American Counseling Association constitutes a refusal to complete the curriculum." Clearly, when the powers that be at ASU instructed Miss Keeton to attend a Gay Pride parade to broaden her understanding of the homosexual lifestlye, they were not being "viewpoint-neutral". The hypocrisy of that statement coming from a supposedly conservative Republican judge speaks volumes to the point we have reached as a society today.

This is a board where it has been posted that Roman Emperor Nero's official "marriage" to a male name Sporus is proof that enlightened societies in history have supported and promoted homosexuality and same sex marriage and, therefore, so should America. What the poster failed to mention is that the preponderance of evidence suggests that Sporus was young boy of about 12 who had been castrated by Nero. The poster also failed to note that the Roman empire fell not terribly long after that and dissappeared from the face of the earth.

Perhaps our enlightened liberals and conservative judges should ponder that for awhile.

freeradical
1077
Points
freeradical 08/21/10 - 12:32 pm
0
0
Of course the fact that the

Of course the fact that the taxpayer funded lone activist judge is a

graduate alumni in good standing of the taxpayer funded institution in

question here held no sway as to whether or not

his taxpayer funded ASU brethren would have their collective souls

salved by his determination.

momster59
0
Points
momster59 08/21/10 - 12:39 pm
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0
Willow - I read HER lawyers'

Willow - I read HER lawyers' brief, in its entirety. The remediation plan was completely laid out. There were mandatory steps of the remediation plan, and there were suggestions of other activities laid out that she might consider, but was not required to do/attend in order to better understand working with this group, but was NOT required for her remediation.

Judge Hall is completely correct when he states that this is not an issue dealing with her religious freedoms. She knew upon entering this program what was required for her to gain certification. I do not deny her her rights to worship and believe as she chooses, and wish her the best in her future. However, given her own actions and statements, I do not believe her future should lie in counseling school children.

For all of you "christians" who keep asserting her right to bias against GLBT students and/or their families, how would you like it if an Atheist, Muslim, Native American Spiritual, Pagan, Racist or even Satanist counsellor could not set aside their bias when speaking with your child? If they truly could not they should not have certification in this field. If they bypassed the system and are already a counsellor, they should be fired.

momster59
0
Points
momster59 08/21/10 - 12:45 pm
0
0
FreeRadical - I was wondering

FreeRadical - I was wondering when one of the homophobic community would cry out that the heterosexual, devoutly Christian judge had an agenda. Couldn't be that he understands the Constitution, heard and read the testimony and that the truth was revealed.

Sometimes when God speaks through people, those hollering the loudest that his will will be done are the very ones who don't want to listen when it is.

momster59
0
Points
momster59 08/21/10 - 12:47 pm
0
0
tmimbs - none of your

tmimbs - none of your postings ever make any sense to me. Your logic does not follow through.

JusticeForEva
0
Points
JusticeForEva 08/21/10 - 12:48 pm
0
0
Major Paul people like you

Major Paul people like you are why the church is having such a drop in converts. Homosexuality and incest are TWO very different things bucko >:( That's why no one whats to listen to you Christian's and your hate filled rhetoric!

GAterp
2
Points
GAterp 08/21/10 - 12:58 pm
0
0
Go Thump that Bible

Go Thump that Bible elsewhere. You cannot do it in College! Too many people are studying, partying, or otherwise getting on with life. If they want to b

GAterp
2
Points
GAterp 08/21/10 - 12:59 pm
0
0
be thumped, then they can go

be thumped, then they can go to church on Sunday or Wednesday evening.

Willow Bailey
20580
Points
Willow Bailey 08/21/10 - 01:02 pm
0
0
Palmetto, what fired me up on

Palmetto, what fired me up on momster, is her comment "I attended both the parade and the festival and met a great number of wonderful people and came out with my heterosexuality completely intact. Makes you wonder what they are REALLY afraid of......"

I see your point regarding the Prof. Stands. and judgment. I respect authority, rules, policy and law. The part I am having a problem with is understanding how the two (Prof. Standards and her beliefs) could have ever been honestly reconciled through the offered remediation plan. Maybe she was having the same struggle and just didn't know how to go about it.

I have to also say that I don't know any of the people involved and have no real idea how any of them actually presented themselves.

There are so many unanswered questions. Although, I do also see that it seems so cut and dry in regards to the current standards of the profession. I don't want to call any public names, but counselors are out there with secular counseling degrees practicing with speaking out their morals and beliefs, some with it printed on their business cards.
How did they do it?

palmetto1007
0
Points
palmetto1007 08/21/10 - 01:23 pm
0
0
well, Willow.....I think

well, Willow.....I think counselors in private practice have the luxury of infusing religous beliefs into thier counseling sessions. And, if that's the case, I think it's appropriate for them to "advertise" this on their business cards. It may be exactly what someone needs or is looking for. The difference is that Ms. Keeton was being trained to professionally counsel in a public school ....dealing with kids from all sorts of religious backgrounds and whose families, even Christian ones, hold different values and beliefs than she does.

corgimom
32615
Points
corgimom 08/21/10 - 01:21 pm
0
0
dougk- you have the right to

dougk- you have the right to believe whatever you wish. Only God can decide if you are a Christian, not somebody on a blog.

So just post away, and the "ignore" button is your friend.

momster59
0
Points
momster59 08/21/10 - 01:21 pm
0
0
Wow willow, I didn't know I

Wow willow, I didn't know I "fired you up", just wanted you to think. I don't think Palmetto was referring to my post, as he/she said "Willow....that's a pretty broad brush you're using in your last statement." Your last statement in the preceding post was:
"If ASU doesn't want any christian thought or beliefs in their school or in certain classes, maybe they should print that in bold letters at the top of the application. It would then help students and parents make better decisions regarding enrollment. It would be a win-win, don't you think?"

Pretty illogical statement considering the thousands of Christians who attend and graduate ASU every year with no problem.

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