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Grad student claims he was expelled for refusing to counsel gay couples

The former graduate student has filled a law suit against his university for wrongfully expelling him.

Andrew Cash was removed from the course for comments he made in 2011, telling his professor he will be refusing counselling to gay couples as it is an infringement to his religious freedom.

The Thomas More society, a Chicago-based public interest law firm, is filing the lawsuit on Cash’s behalf. It names the university’s board of governors and several other school officials as defendants. The lawsuit claims the university denied Cash his rights to religion and free speech and seeks an unspecified monetary sum as well as punitive damages.

Though MSU spokeswoman M. Suzanne Shaw said the university "strictly prohibits discrimination on the basis of religion or any other protected class.”

The case arose during a class project when a student asked about counselling LGBT people. Cash agreed he would counsel individual people but would refrain from counselling an LGBT couple, and would instead refer them to another counselor with similar beliefs.

The internship coordinator then told Cash that his position went against the code of ethics of the American Counseling Association. In response, the university cancelled his internship and required Cash to attend counseling services and complete a self-assessment. After appealing the matter, Cash was removed from the program in 2014.

The lawsuit is primarily backed by this being 'an attack on Cash's personal beliefs, values and Christian worldview and these would not be congruent with the likely values and needs of a gay couple.”

He was targeted and punished for expressing his Christian worldview regarding a hypothetical situation concerning whether he would provide counseling services to a gay/homosexual couple,” it continues.

“Since he did not give the ’correct’ answer required by his counseling instructors, he was considered unsuitable for counseling and terminated from the program.”

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