TN Governor signs bill allowing counselors to refuse to treat LGBT patients

Mental health professionals can turn away patients who violate their “sincerely held principles.”

<> on February 23, 2015 in Washington, DC.

4/27/16 – (Wall Street Journal) Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam signed a law Wednesday that allows professional counselors to use personally held principles as reasons to refuse clients and refer them on, projecting his state into the national debate over measures affecting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

Opponents of the Tennessee law, including the American Counseling Association, view it as a first-in-the-nation tool that will codify discrimination against the LGBT community. Supporters have defended the law as a nondiscriminatory measure that will protect counselors who provide help for people dealing with issues ranging from marital concerns to drug dependency.

“After considerable thought and discussion with counselors both for and against the bill, I have decided to sign Senate Bill 1556,” the Republican governor said in a statement.




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