An attorney for a graduate student claiming she was wrongfully dismissed from her counseling job at a Michigan college because she refused to counsel gay and bisexual clients on their relationships argued in federal court Tuesday that his client was discriminated against because of her religious beliefs — while the school insists her actions violated school policy.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in Cincinnati heard arguments in the case involving Julea Ward, a Detroit-area public school teacher. In July 2010, a federal judge dismissed Ward’s lawsuit against Eastern Michigan University (EMU) after the school successfully contended she violated school policy and the American Counseling Association’s code of ethics, which forbids counselors from discrimination in clinical practice.

Following Tuesday’s hearing, Jeremy Tedesco, an attorney for the conservative Alliance Defense Fund, said he believes the Appeals Court will overturn the ruling because it violated Ward’s First Amendment rights.

“Ultimately, the university has a really tough battle here,” Tedesco told FoxNews.com. “The bottom line to us is that this is very clear violation of her First Amendment rights in a couple of different contexts.”

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