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Tenn. gov. urged to veto anti-LGBT bill
2016-04-27

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Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam is being asked to veto a bill the Tennessee Legislature recently passed.

House Bill 1840/Senate Bill 1556 states that no person providing counseling or therapy services shall be required to counsel or serve a client regarding goals or behaviors that conflict with a sincerely held religious belief of the counselor or therapist.

Pro-LGBT groups have condemned the measure—if for no other reason than economics. Tennessee Equality Project Executive Director Chris Sanders said, "If this bill is enacted, the eyes of the country will turn to Tennessee, and I fear we will reap the whirlwind. After enacting similar legislation, Georgia and North Carolina saw a huge loss of investment in their states."

After Haslam discussed the bill with NPR on April 21, American Counseling Association Director of Government Affairs Art Terrazas said, "Counselors' work is absolutely based on values. We value the principle that anyone, regardless of their religion or sexuality, should have access to the help they need. Our values are codified in our Code of Ethics, something to which nearly 60,000 counselors abide.

"Hate Bill 1840 is an unprecedented attack on that Code of Ethics, and on our values as counselors. It mischaracterizes our profession and puts the people of Tennessee in harm's way."

Last week, Tennessee lawmakers failed to override Haslam's veto of a bill seeking to make the Bible the state's official book.


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