The Thomas More Society has taken on a case on behalf of Andrew Cash, a student at Missouri State University who was dismissed from his M.S. in a counseling program after expressing concern over the counseling of same-sex couples due to his religious convictions.
The law firm filed a federal civil rights complaint this week against the Missouri State stating that Cash who began a counseling program at the university in September 2007 was discriminated against after responding when asked if he would counsel gay couple that he would cancel them individually but not as a couple because of his Christian beliefs.
Courthouse News Service by Joe Harris
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (CN) — Missouri State University kicked a student out of its master’s program in counseling because his religious beliefs prevent him from counseling gay couples, the man claims in court.
Andrew Cash sued the Governors of Missouri State University, System President Clifton M. Smart III and other MSU officials on Tuesday in Federal Court.
MSU’s masters program requires 600 hours of clinical counseling, 240 of them face-to-face, according to the lawsuit.
Cash says in the complaint that defendant Kristi Perryman, former internship coordinator for the MSU Counseling Department, approved his internship at the Springfield Marriage and Family Institute (SMFI) in the fall of 2010 and that at least one student had successfully completed an internship at SMFI.
Each student is required to make a class presentation. Cash proposed to his instructor, nonparty Kara Davis, that he do his on Christian counseling and he made his presentation at SMFI on April 11, 2011.
During the presentation, a student asked SMFI Executive Director W.K. Boyce whether he would counsel gay couples. Boyce responded that he would counsel them on an individual basis, but not as a couple due to his religious beliefs. Boyce, who is not a party to the lawsuit, said he would refer gay couples to fellow counselors who do not share his religious beliefs.
A week later, Cash says, Perryman informed him that he was not allowed to continue interning at SMFI and that the organization would be removed from MSU’s approved site list until certain “ethical” concerns were addressed.
Cash says Perryman questioned him closely on whether he would counsel gay couples. Cash said he would counsel them individually but not as a couple due to his religious beliefs. Cash said he would refer them to other counselors who do not hold his beliefs….
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