Andrew Cash is suing Missouri State University (MSU), a public university located in Springfield, Missouri, because it kicked him out of its master’s program in counseling. Cash claims that he was thrown out because he said that his religious beliefs would prevent him from counseling a gay couple (although he said he would counsel gay individuals).
According to the brief, the graduate counseling program requires requires 600 hours of clinical counseling, 240 of them face-to-face. To meet this requirement, Andrew Cash interned at the Springfield Marriage and Family Institute (SFMI), a Christian-based organization. He claims that MSU knew it was a Christian based program, since at least one other student in the M.S. in Counseling program had previously completed an internship at the Institute and Cash’s internship was approved by MSU before he started working there.
As part of a class project, on April 11, 2011, Cash arranged for W.K. Boyce, his supervisor at SFMI, to explain about the Christian relationship counseling to the class.
Boyce explained SMFI’s Christian-based approach to counseling, and indicated that the Christian value foundation of the counseling practice was well known to anyone who came to seek counseling. A question was asked if SMFI prays with clients. Referencing an openly displayed Bible Boyce said that he would pray with a client upon request. A student asked Boyce if SMFI counsels gay couples. Boyce said that he would counsel gay persons as individuals, but not as couples, because of his religious beliefs, but would refer the couple for counseling to other counselors he knew who did not share his religious views.
A week later, Mr. Cash received an email from the counseling school’s internship coordinator, Dr. Perryman, asking him to meet with her as soon as possible about his internship. Perryman told W.K. Boyce at SMFI that Cash was no longer allowed to intern at SFMI, and that the Institute was removed from the department’s list of approved internship sites until certain “ethical concerns” had been addressed…
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