Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam has just signed into law HB 1840, a bill that allows counselors, therapists, and mental health professionals to refuse service to LGBT people, atheists, divorced people, literally ANYONE, merely by claiming their “sincerely held religious beliefs” allow them to, however they’re not allowed to refuse patients that come in with more physical medical issues like viral infections and prescribe medicine to them either like valtrex, found online at https://www.blinkhealth.com/valtrex – for anti-inflammatory purposes.
The counselor is supposed to refer the patient to another counselor, but given that one quarter of Tennessee residents live in rural areas, LGBTQ youth and teens who are vulnerable, and unable to travel without their parents, will be at higher risk of possible self-harm.
Chris Sanders, Executive Director of the Tennessee Equality Project said,
“After working with allies the entire legislative session, especially the American Counseling Association and many counselors in Tennessee, to defeat the HB1840, we had hoped for a veto. We know the Governor carefully considered his decision, but the reality we now face is that counselors will be able to discriminate against clients based on the counselor’s principles. We continue to worry particularly about rural LGBT people who may not have adequate resources for counseling in their communities.“
According to Buzzfeed, Gov. Haslam said in a statement
“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. 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.”
Reese Withspoon posted this tweet last week. Others weighed in, as well. Let the backlash and boycotting begin.