Keeton's side blasts KKK's plan to rally

Augusta State counseling student Jennifer Keeton was told to take sensitivity training on homosexual issues.

Attorneys representing an Augusta State University student whose lawsuit against the school has attracted support from the Ku Klux Klan issued a statement condemning the group's plans for a protest rally later this month.

An e-mail from the Alliance Defense Fund, a Christian faith-based coalition of attorneys, said Keeton and her lawyers are "unequivocally condemning" the plans by the KKK to rally in support of Keeton's lawsuit.

"Jennifer and the ADF are disgusted by the KKK and all it stands for," ADF Senior Counsel David French said in the e-mail. "To say more than that or to discuss their activities at length risks bringing more attention to a failed organization that is seeking to exploit news stories for its own purposes. As the KKK admits in news reports, Jennifer has had no contact with them, and neither have we. Neither Jennifer nor ADF wish to give the KKK the attention it craves."

Officials from the Richmond County Sheriff's Office and the Church of the National Knights of the KKK, based in South Bend, Ind., confirmed Tuesday that permits had been acquired to hold a rally in the median on Fleming Avenue across from ASU's main entrance on Oct. 23.

Bobby Spurlock, who identified himself as imperial wizard knighthawk and grand dragon of South Carolina and North Carolina, said they support Keeton's First Amendment rights to free speech and like her, believe that ASU violated her rights when it required she enter a remediation program to graduate from the school's counseling program.

Keeton was put into the program after she objected to counseling homosexuals. School officials contend that the program is a teaching tool that exposes students to lifestyles and cultures that they may encounter while working as a professional counselor.

In Keeton's case, the school was concerned about statements that Keeton, a Christian, made regarding her ability to counsel homosexual students and wanted her to increase her exposure to that community by reading journals and visiting homosexual-related events.

Keeton objected and filed a lawsuit in July.

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