Alliance Defense Fund attorneys filed suit against the university on Keeton's behalf on First Amendment grounds. ADF is litigating a similar case at Eastern Michigan University and has successfully resolved a case at Missouri State University.
According to ADF, university faculty said Keeton's beliefs are unethical and incompatible with the counseling profession, saying it would hinder her "ability to be a multi-culturally competent counselor, particularly with regard to working with gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer/questioning populations." According to court papers, when Keeton asked why her biblical ethical views would disqualify her competence as a counselor, and how her Christian convictions were any less acceptable than those of a Buddhist or Muslim student, Mary Jane Anderson-Wiley, an associate professor who oversees the school's student education and discipline, responded, "Christians see this population as sinners."
According to the filed complaint, "She has stated that she believes sexual behavior is the result of accountable personal choice rather than an inevitability deriving from deterministic forces. She has also affirmed binary male-female gender, with one or the other being fixed in each person at their creation, and not a social construct or individual choice subject to alteration by the person so created. Further, she has expressed her view that homosexuality is a 'lifestyle,' not a 'state of being.'"
The Remediation Plan required that Keeton attend "diversity sensitivity training" toward working with GLBTQ populations, plus the faculty sought to change her beliefs by assigning her remedial assignments to increase her exposure and interaction with gay populations by attending such events as the Augusta Gay Pride parade, then writing about her feelings after being there.
"A public university student shouldn't be threatened with expulsion for being a Christian and refusing to publicly renounce her faith, but that's exactly what's happening here. Simply put, the university is imposing thought reform," said ADF senior counsel David French. "Abandoning one's own religious beliefs should not be a precondition at a public university for obtaining a degree. This type of leftist, zero-tolerance policy is in place at far too many universities, and it must stop. Jennifer's only crime was to have the beliefs that she does."
Anderson-Wiley told Keeton that she had a choice of standing by the Bible or by the American Counseling Association Code of Ethics. Keeton chose the Bible. [CitizenLink.com, American Family Association, The Washington Times, ChristianPost.com, WorldNetDaily.com, Family Research Council]