New Tennessee Law Allows Therapists To Deny Treatment To LGBT Clients

New Tennessee Law Allows Therapists To Deny Treatment To LGBT Clients April 27, 2016

New law allows counselors to cite religious beliefs for refusing service to LGBT patients.

Wednesday Tennessee’s Republican Governor Bill Haslam signed a bill into law that allows mental health counselors to refuse to treat patients based on the therapist’s religious or personal beliefs.

The new law has been denounced by the American Counseling Association as a “hate bill” against gay and transgender people.

The Republican sponsored legislation will permit mental health professionals to discriminate against LGBT patients without legal liability.

The American Counseling Association has called the legislation an “unprecedented attack” on the counseling profession, noting that Tennessee is the only state in the union to allow counselors to turn away clients, something that is not allowed in the industry association’s code of ethics.

The new anti-gay legislation is part of a growing backlash in the American South against the LGBT population. The backlash is being lead by conservative Christians angry and frightened by the landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling last year that legalized same-sex marriage.

The new legislation in Tennessee will endanger lives, and is another attempt by mean-spirited conservative Christians to stigmatize and demean the LGBT community. Perhaps most alarming is the message such legislation sends to LGBT youth.

Bottom line: The legislation allowing allow mental health professionals to reject LGBT patients based on “sincerely held religious beliefs” is immoral and wrong. Refusing to help another human being who is in pain and asking for help is beyond despicable – but the bigots will call it “Christian love.”

Tennessee's Republican Governor Bill Haslam (Image via Screen Grab)
Tennessee’s Republican Governor Bill Haslam (Image via Screen Grab)

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