August 4, 2021 The Newspaper Serving LGBT Los Angeles

Anti-LGBT Tennessee law allows doctors to discriminate

Governor Bill Haslam signed into law the US's first ever law that allows medical professionals to discriminate against LGBT patients.
Governor Bill Haslam signed into law the US’s first ever law that allows medical professionals to discriminate against LGBT patients.

BY TROY MASTERS | Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam today signed into law a bill that allows licensed counselors or therapists to deny treatment to any client if the patients ‘goals, (desired) outcomes or behaviors” do not align with the counselor’s “sincerely held principles.” 

The law has been roundly denounced by the American Counseling Association.  The group called the legislation a “hate bill” against LGBT people that can be used against anybody.  

The new law shields therapists against civil suits and criminal prosecution and prevents any sanctions from licensing agents. Among the many questions about the law is how it collides with accreditation organization rules and whether it violates any federal laws.

Therapists who wish to refuse clients are required under the law to make referrals but does require treatment by the counselor unless a patient is “in imminent danger of harming themselves or others.”

Haslam told the Tennessean (newspaper) that at first he “was concerned about the legislation – the connotations,” but because counselors are required to provide emergency care in life threatening situation and refer other clients they did not want to treat he signed the bill.

It is the latest in a series of “religious freedom.” Tennessee’s Senate approved the counseling bill 27-5 in February and the House on 68-22 on April 6. 

Upon signing the bill into law today the governor issued this statement:  “The substance of this bill doesn’t address a group, issue or belief system. Rather, it allows counselors – just as we allow other professionals like doctors and lawyers – to refer a client to another counselor when the goals or behaviors would violate a sincerely held principle. I believe it is reasonable to allow these professionals to determine if and when an individual would be better served by another counselor better suited to meet his or her needs.”

Obviously no one would want a therapist who they do not like and obviously would not want to be treated by one who does not like them.  But why is a law necessary?

Chris Sanders, Executive Director of the Tennessee Equality Project, said “There may also be a repeal effort, but it will be uphill and have to wait until January.” The group has launched a new campaign, Counseling Unconditionally, to allow counselors, therapists, psychologists, psychiatrists, and social workers to identify themselves as practitioners who will not turn away clients simply based on their values and principles.

The American Counseling Association is working on a vigorous response, according to Art Terrazas, a spokesman for the group. The Pride will provide more details as they are made available.

Related Posts

Inclusive Pregnant Man Emoji May Be Coming To Software Updates

July 26, 2021

July 26, 2021

More inclusive emojis may be coming to future software updates, including one of a pregnant man. A “pregnant man” and...

$3 Million To Train California Teachers On LGBTQ Issues

July 26, 2021

July 26, 2021

California Gov. Gavin Newsom approved a final state budget that includes $3 million for LGBTQ cultural competency training for public...

PReP, The HiV Prevention Pill, Free

July 26, 2021

July 26, 2021

Insurers have been advised that they shouldn’t be charging for Truvada and Descovy as HIV prevention and that associated clinic...

Trans Incident At Wi Spa May Have Been Staged

July 19, 2021

July 19, 2021

On June 24th an Instagram user “cubaangel” posted a video of herself angrily confronting a staff member at the Wi...

Podcast Host Mat George Killed In Hit-And-Run

July 19, 2021

July 19, 2021

Mathew George, gay co-host of the podcast “She Rates Dogs”, has died at the age of 26 after a hit-and-run...

Serenity Hollis, 25th Trans Person Murdered- E.P.I.C Pride Show, June 30th, 2021

June 29, 2021

June 29, 2021

E.P.I.C Pride, Highlighting the latest LGBTQ news in Entertainment, Politics, International affairs, and Culture. – Serenity Hollis, 25th Trans Person...

Cops Banned From NYC Pride- E.P.I.C Pride Show, June 23rd, 2021

June 22, 2021

June 22, 2021

E.P.I.C Pride, Highlighting the latest LGBTQ news in Entertainment, Politics, International affairs, and Culture. – Cops Banned From NYC Pride...

Caitlyn Jenner Running For California Governor – E.P.I.C Pride Show, June 16th, 2021

June 15, 2021

June 15, 2021

E.P.I.C Pride, Highlighting the latest LGBTQ news in Entertainment, Politics, International affairs, and Culture. – Caitlyn Jenner Running For California...

Talkshoplive Announces GLAAD As June Charity

June 11, 2021

June 11, 2021

As Pride Month kicks off, talkshoplive, the groundbreaking livestream commerce platform, announces GLAAD will be talkshoplive’s charity of the month...

LA Pride Announces “Thrive With Pride” Theme – E.P.I.C Pride Show, June 9th, 2021

June 9, 2021

June 9, 2021

E.P.I.C Pride, Highlighting the latest LGBTQ news in Entertainment, Politics, International affairs, and Culture. – LA Pride Announces “Thrive With...

LA Based Gay Comedian Nicky Paris Is Breaking Barriers

May 28, 2021

May 28, 2021

Nicky Paris is an LA Based gay comedian on the rise.  Making waves performing throughout the country, Paris has been...

The Abbey Food & Bar Celebrates 30 Years

May 23, 2021

May 23, 2021

On May 23rd The Abbey Food & Bar celebrated 30 years since its founding in May 1991. The Abbey has...

Artists Featured For SaMo Pride Rainbow Road Art Walk

May 23, 2021

May 23, 2021

In honor of Pride month Santa Monica Pride (SaMo Pride) will feature a Rainbow Road Art Walk from June 4th-...

Crimson & Clover Studio De-stigmatizing Sex Through Humor

May 23, 2021

May 23, 2021

Crimson and Clover Studio is an online retailer that sells goods to invoke laughter and destigmatize sex through humor featuring...

Railway Service Coming To WeHo

May 23, 2021

May 23, 2021

Metro rail service might be coming to the city of West Hollywood.  The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro)...