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Guidance Counselor Could Lose His License for Supporting Marriage
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Don Mendell, a guidance counselor at Nokomis Regional High School in Maine, publicly advocated traditional marriage during the controversial Question 1 campaign this fall. Opponents of homosexual marriage gathered 100,000 signatures, twice the required number, to place the issue on the ballot after Maine legislators passed a law creating same-sex marriage in the state.

Guidance counselor Mendell appeared in an ad paid for by the grassroots group Stand for Marriage Maine. In the ad, Mendell asks Maine voters to "vote yes on Question 1 to prevent homosexual marriage from being pushed on Maine students."

In October, soon after the ad first appeared, a guidance counselor at another school filed an official complaint against Mendell with the state agency that licenses social workers. The complaint calls on the agency to revoke Mendell's social work license because of his opposition to homosexual marriage.

In her written complaint, the other guidance counselor accuses Mendell of violating the code of ethics of the National Association of Social Workers. According to the code of ethics, social workers "should not practice, condone, facilitate, or collaborate in any form of discrimination" based on sexual orientation. Social workers should "act to prevent and eliminate domination of, exploitation of and discrimination against" any group of people.

The Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) will represent Mendell in the complaint case. Austin Nimocks, ADF's senior legal counsel, contends that Mendell "can be completely professional and not discriminate against anyone based on their sexual orientation and still believe that marriage is a union between one man and one woman." Nimocks said further, "For this man to be threatened with his livelihood because of his beliefs is absolutely ridiculous and frankly unconstitutional."

The Yes on 1 campaign succeeded, with 53% of Maine voters agreeing in November to overturn the recent same-sex marriage law. Before that victory, Scott Fish of Stand for Marriage Maine said Mendell's situation demonstrated that the same-sex marriage law posed a serious threat to freedom of conscience. "This latest attack highlights the true agenda of those who demand that marriage be redefined," said Fish. (Bangor Daily News, 10-30-09)

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