Michigan House Passes Bill Allowing Student Counsellors to Refuse LGBT Students Counselling

With 59 Yeas and 50 Nays1, the Michigan House passed Bill 5040. The bill effectively allows a student counsellor to refuse LGBT students counselling on the basis of religiously or morally held beliefs. In the words of the bill:

[An educational institution will not be able to sanction a student counsellor, if] the student refuses to counsel or serve a client as to goals that conflict with a sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction of the student, if the student refers the client to a counselor who will provide the counseling or services.

In the usual newspeak, the bill is entitled “Julea Ward Freedom of Conscience Act”. The title refers to the eponymous student counsellor at Eastern Michigan University who in 2009 refused to counsel a gay student based on her Christian convictions, after which the university dismissed her. Huffington Post has more on the matter.


The roll call was as follows:

  • Agema
  • Haines
  • Lori
  • Poleski
  • Bolger
  • Haveman
  • Lund
  • Potvin
  • Bumstead
  • Heise
  • Lyons
  • Price
  • Cotter
  • Hooker
  • MacGregor
  • Pscholka
  • Crawford
  • Horn
  • MacMaster
  • Rendon
  • Daley
  • Hughes
  • McBroom
  • Rogers
  • Damrow
  • Huuki
  • McMillin
  • Schmidt, W.
  • Denby
  • Jacobsen
  • Moss
  • Shaughnessy
  • Forlini
  • Jenkins
  • Muxlow
  • Shirkey
  • Franz
  • Johnson
  • Nesbitt
  • Somerville
  • Genetski
  • Knollenberg
  • O’Brien
  • Stamas
  • Gilbert
  • Kowall
  • Olson
  • Tyler
  • Glardon
  • Kurtz
  • Opsommer
  • Walsh
  • Goike
  • LaFontaine
  • Outman
  • Yonker
  • Graves
  • Pettalia

  • LeBlanc

All but combo-breaker LeBlanc (D) are Republican2. The House has 63 Republican representatives and 47 Democratic3. The bill now needs to be passed by the Senate, which has 26 Republican and 12 Democratic senators.