This is just awful!
On Wednesday, it was reported that Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam signed a bill that allows counselors with "sincerely held principles" to deny care to clients from the LGBT community. Seriously?
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As we previously reported, the Volunteer State's Senate passed this upsetting piece of legislation earlier this month — not long after a slew of other southern states passed discriminatory bills that targeted the rights of gay, lesbian, and transgender citizens. So sad!
Apparently, the governor decided not to veto the controversial legal document as he felt that his concerns had been addressed in the final revision of the bill. It's said that Haslam felt reassured in his decision when he learned that the bill one, requires therapists and counselors to help clients who are an imminent danger to themselves or others, and two, that the professional must arrange a referral to another counselor.
Hmm, go on. In a recent statement, Haslam explained:
"Although Senate Bill 1556 has received attention for its perceived focus, my job is to look at the actual substance of the legislation… The substance of this bill doesn't address a group, issue or belief system. 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."
Ugh! The executive director of the ACLU, named Hedy Weinberg, told CNN:
"This measure is rooted in the dangerous misconception that religion can be used as a free pass to discriminate. 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."
Well said! We couldn't be more disappointed to see this troubling, new law come to fruition.
What do YOU think of this upsetting piece of legislation? SOUND OFF in the comments (below)!
Tags: bill haslam, controversy, gay gay gay, gifs, hedy weinberg, legal matters, lgbt, politik