ACA condemns passage of Tennessee’s Hate Bill 1840
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Friday, April 29th, 2016
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Thursday, Gov. Bill Haslam of Tennessee followed in the footsteps of North Carolina’s Governor Pat McCrory and Mississippi’s Governor Phil Bryant to become the latest to sign into law discriminatory “religious freedom” legislation targeting the LGBTQ community. Tennessee’s HB 1840/SB 1556 permits counselors to deny services and refer clients based on the provider’s “strongly held beliefs” and makes Tennessee the only state in the country to invalidate the American Counseling Association’s (ACA) Code of Ethics.
Not only will the vague language of this legislation open a Pandora’s box of discrimination toward Tennesseans, but it also has the potential to
jeopardize the state’s federal healthcare funding and severely damage Tennessee’s bottom line as businesses and consumers react to the state’s entrance into the contentious national debate surrounding LGBTQ rights and religious freedom legislation.
Said Art Terrazas, the Director of Government Relations at the American Counseling Association, “We are extremely disappointed that Governor Haslam has ignored the lessons learned in North Carolina, Georgia, and Mississippi and has elected to sign this dangerous bill into law. Plain and simple, this bill codifies discrimination. It not only disproportionately affects LGBTQ Tennesseans seeking counseling, but will also have unintended consequences that will reach Tennesseans in all walks of life—whether it’s a veteran suffering from PTSD, a woman suffering from spousal abuse, or a business owner simply trying to attract out of state clients. Despite this setback, the American Counseling Association remains committed to fighting legislation like this across the country and to ensuring that counselors who improperly or unethically refuse services to clients in need continue to be held accountable.”
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