A former student has filed a lawsuit against Eastern Michigan University claiming that she was dismissed from a graduate program in counseling for refusing to “affirm or validate homosexual behavior within the context of a counseling relationship.”

At the start of this year, when she was nearing the end of her coursework at EMU, Julea Ward was engaged in a Counseling Practicum. Ward has religious objections to homosexuality, and when she discovered that one of her assigned clients was gay, she asked her professor whether she should see the client or have him reassigned. That question, she contends, set in motion a chain of events that ultimately led to disciplinary proceedings and her removal from the program.

The university has declined to comment publicly on the case, but in a March 12 letter the chair of her disciplinary committee said that Ward had “by clear and convincing evidence” violated ethical standards requiring that counselors “avoid imposing values that are inconsistent with counseling goals” or engage in discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

A copy of Ward’s complaint, with various documents relating to the disciplinary charges, can be found in PDF form here.

Update: We analyze Ward’s suit and the conservative blogosphere’s response.