Tennessee therapists are now able to state they are incapable of serving all members of society. Isn't it great that your lawmakers have allowed you to point out you cannot handle every patient that walks through your doors?
Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam on Wednesday signed a bill into law that allows therapists and counselors with "sincerely held principles" to reject gay, lesbian, transgender and other clients.
"Although Senate Bill 1556 has received attention for its perceived focus, my job is to look at the actual substance of the legislation," said Haslam, a Republican in his second term.
In a written statement to the media, he said two of his concerns had been addressed by this most recent version of the bill, which passed the state Senate on April 6. The first requires therapists and counselors to treat people who are an imminent danger to themselves or others. The second mandates the mental health professional arrange a referral to another counselor or therapist.
"The substance of this bill doesn't address a group, issue or belief system," the governor said. "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."
Hedy Weinberg, the executive director of the ACLU in Tennessee, expressed her disappointment, calling the law troubling.
"This measure is rooted in the dangerous misconception that religion can be used as a free pass to discriminate," Weinberg said. "Allowing counselors to treat some potential clients differently from others based on their personal beliefs defies professional standards and could cause significant harm to vulnerable people."
Earlier this month, the Family Action Council of Tennessee touted its support for the bill, saying it was important to protect the religious beliefs and moral convictions of counselors and therapists.
The final version of the bill that became law no longer includes any references to religious beliefs. The language was changed by the Tennessee House and Senate after the April 6 vote.
The law went into effect with the governor's signature. – cnn.com
People, if they don't want to help you, you need to move on and go somewhere else. I say let the narrow minded under skilled therapists point themselves out, for if they are limited in their practice, why would you desire their help?
Its as I say, if you are promoting yourself as a total top, it just means you are a limited top. Tennessee has stated their therapists are possibly not capable of treating everyone. Would you like your state to say your profession is inferior to similar people in other states?
It's good to know in advance what they are unable to do. When you go to a therapist, you want someone open minded and able to help in any way possible, not someone that is closed off to certain issues and concerns. When you are picking a general practitioner / doctor, do you hide that you are gay? Do you want someone that doesn't know how to deal with what you may bring up? I'd rather go to a doctor that is comfortable dealing with my needs, opposed to someone who is mentally and morally incapable of helping.
Is there any other bright side to this? Maybe there will be less gay conversion therapies out there?