May 21, 2024 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

Father-Son Duo RSG Janitorial Services Finds Joy In Serving Customers

May 21, 2024

May 21, 2024

Finding handymen and janitorial services can be a hard pick. RSG Janitorial Services, based in Los Angeles, offers a mix...

LA Pride 2024 Announces George Takei, Cassandro, and Kristin Crowley as Grand Marshals

May 21, 2024

May 21, 2024

Celebrate “Power in Pride” with live broadcasts, a block party, and special events This year’s LA Pride Parade will celebrate...

West Hollywood Hosts Open House for New Street Design Concept Plan

May 21, 2024

May 21, 2024

Learn About Upcoming Street Improvements Aimed at Enhancing Safety The City of West Hollywood invites community members to attend an...

Target Slashes Prices on 5,000 Everyday Items for Summer Savings

May 21, 2024

May 21, 2024

Consumers to Enjoy Reduced Prices on Essentials Starting Now Target Corporation announced on Monday it will lower the everyday regular...

Los Angeles County Rent Relief Program Opens Second Round of Applications

May 20, 2024

May 20, 2024

Applications Accepted Until June 4, Funding and Support Have Been Increased  The Los Angeles County Rent Relief Program (LARRP) has...

Detectives Seek Public’s Help to Locate Attilio Brillembourg, Stepfather of Greek Princess

May 20, 2024

May 20, 2024

Stepfather of Princess Tatiana of Greece is Missing in Malibu Detectives from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department are seeking...

Cynthia Erivo, Mickalene Thomas, and MUNA Honored at Star-Studded Event

May 19, 2024

May 19, 2024

Los Angeles LGBT Center Gala Raises $1.6M for LGBTQ+ Services The Los Angeles LGBT Center raised $1.6 million at its...

Hepatitis A Case Reported in Beverly Hills Whole Foods Employee

May 19, 2024

May 19, 2024

Health Officials Advise Vaccination for Seafood Customers  The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health is investigating a hepatitis A...

Assault Suspect Arrested After High-Speed, Wrong Way Chase on 405 Freeway

May 19, 2024

May 19, 2024

Erratic Driver Rams Police Car, Causes Multiple Collisions During Pursuit An erratic driver suspected of assault with a deadly weapon...

Mayor Bass Orders Increased Police Presence on LA Metro After Surge in Violence

May 17, 2024

May 17, 2024

A Shocking Murder Was Committed on a Metro Bus After Announcement Mayor Karen Bass has directed an increase in law...

Inaugural Design Miami.LA Fair Opens in Holmby Hills

May 17, 2024

May 17, 2024

Exclusive Access and Dynamic Talks From May 16-20 The inaugural edition of Design Miami.LA opened yesterday, running until May 20,...

(Video) Design Miami LA Is Now Open in Holmby Hills

May 17, 2024

May 17, 2024

Sainte Marguerite en Provence Is the exclusive rosé sponsor. Welcome to the Greenhouse. @centurycitywestwoodnews Design Miami LA Is Now Open...

Shock-A-Go-Go Film Festival Returns to Lumiere Cinema in Beverly Hills

May 17, 2024

May 17, 2024

A Weekend of Horror, and Cult Classics With Exclusive Q&A Sessions The Shock-A-Go-Go Film Festival is set to return to...

Devastating Fire Closes Historic Westwood Restaurant, Causing Serious Damage

May 16, 2024

May 16, 2024

Roozbeh Farahanipour Launches GoFundMe to Restore Cultural Tribute The Persian Gulf Restaurant and Museum in Westwood has sustained serious damage...