Contact: Chris Sanders, (615) 390-5252 and firstname.lastname@example.org
Nashville, TN--The Tennessee Equality Project condemns House passage of HB1840, also known as Hate Bill 1840 and the Counseling Discrimination bill. We call on Governor Bill Haslam to veto the bill. Citizens can join the call for a veto at this link.
By putting the focus on counselors instead of clients, the bill damages the counseling profession and puts vulnerable clients at risk. We are particularly concerned about rural LGBT people who already have limited access to affirming mental health services.
Opposed by over 50 Tennessee clergy, the bill does not represent the religious freedom it purports to protect.
An anti-bullying amendment that would have protected minors who are victims of bullying was stripped from the bill during a House Health Committee meeting. View TEP's video on the anti-bullying amendment at this link.
By passing a religious refusal bill, the Legislature has opened the door to discrimination in Tennessee and our state could experience the same national wrath that Indiana, North Carolina, and Mississippi are now facing.
TEP thanks the American Counseling Association, the many Tennessee counseling associations, and those state legislators who opposed the bill. In particular, we are grateful to Sen. Jeff Yarbro and Rep. John Ray Clemmons for offering amendments that generated important debate about the bill in an effort to protect the most vulnerable Tennesseans from its consequences.