School Counselor Could Lose License for Supporting Traditional Marriage

School Counselor Could Lose License for Supporting Traditional Marriage

donDonald Mendell, a licensed counselor at Nokomis Regional High School, appeared in a “Vote Yes on 1” television commercial last month in support of Maine’s Question 1. Now he is likely to lose his license due to a complaint accusing him of violating the social worker’s code of ethics by appearing in the ad.

According to Mendell, the commercial was in response to an earlier “No on 1” ad featuring another Nokomis Regional High School teacher, Nokomis literacy coach, Sherri Gould. She was featured briefly in the ad refuting claims that same-sex marriage would be taught in the high schools if Question 1 were not passed.

In the response ad, Mendell identifies Gould, who he has worked with for more than 20 years, as a “gay activist already pushing this type of agenda,” and argues that pro-homosexuality views are already being promoted in the school. He concludes his message, “Vote yes on Question 1 to prevent homosexual marriage from being pushed on Maine students”

The complaint against Mendell, filed by a person identified only as “Ann,” asserts that Mendell’s public opposition violates the code of ethics set by the National Association of Social Workers, citing one section that addresses treating colleagues with respect and another that states one “should not practice, condone, facilitate, or collaborate with any form of discrimination,” including on the basis of sexual orientation.

According to the complaint, Mendell disrespected and attacked his co-worker by identifying her as a gay activist and inadvertently promoted discrimination against homosexuals by taking a public position against same-sex marriage.  The complaint also cited an email from a student:

“I sure hope some poor kid that loves and respects him hasn’t been struggling with their own sexuality and thinking about coming out to him … God only knows how that broadcast affected their decision. Some kid listening to some Vote Yes on 1 commercial that sees Mendell … isn’t going to think, ‘Well, he still loves me and accepts me and my choices’ … they’re going to think, ‘Great, he hates me too.'”

Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) is now defending Mendell. Senior legal counsel for ADF, Austin R. Nimocks, said in defense of Mendell, “No American should have his or her livelihood threatened for believing marriage is a union of one man and one woman. This threat to Don, and his family and his livelihood, reveals that those who want to redefine marriage also want to punish and silence anyone who disagrees.”

The complaint was filed on Oct. 19 and allows 30 days for Mendell to respond. There is no word yet on any of the legal developments.

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