What happens when you’re a lesbian and you need health advice from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)? If you’re like a lot of us, you’ll ask your questions in a meek manner because, well, those kinds of questions can be a little bit nerve-wracking and weigh heavily on the embarassment or uncomfortable categories.
According to the Associated Press, the woman came to ex-CDC counselor Marcia Walden in 2007 for advice involving a same-sex relationship, and Walden was let go after she told the woman she couldn’t help because her “personal values” as a devout Christian prevented her from offering any assistance. The woman, who was not named in legal filings, complained to administrators that she felt “judged and condemned” by Walden after the encounter.
“The CDC intervened and said we can’t have a counselor who wants to exclude an entire segment of the population,” said Jeffrey Schwartz, an attorney for the contractor. “It would destroy the integrity of the program. People don’t want to come in and see a counselor if they are going to be kicked in the knees.”
Walden’s attorneys argue that religion had a hand in the reason behind their client’s firing.
“She was targeted for mistreatment based on her religious beliefs,” said Campbell, a lawyer with the Alliance Defense Fund, a conservative religious rights organization that took the case. “It’s not her burden to come up with an excuse. She was offered one dishonest option – to say she didn’t have the expertise to handle the case – and she refused it.”
The case is currently being weighed by three judges on the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.