Right Hooks

Tenn. Latest State to Pass Conscience Protections

Therapists have the legal right to reject clients based on ideological objections.

Culture Beat · Apr. 28, 2016

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam signed a provision this week that gives therapists the legal right to reject clients based on ideological and religious objections. According to The Tennessean, the measure “says no licensed counselor or therapist must serve a client whose ‘goals, outcomes or behaviors’ conflict with the counselor’s ‘sincerely held principles.’” The law furthermore “shields from civil lawsuits, criminal prosecution and sanctions by the state licensing board counselors who refuse to provide services — provided they coordinate a referral of the client to another counselor who would serve them.”

An “extremely disappointed” spokesman for the American Counseling Association, Art Terrazas, says the law marginalizes individuals suffering from gender disorientation pathology and charged that “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.” In reality, discrimination is what Tennessee outlawed.

Recall a few years ago California banned gender conversion therapy — a ban the Obama administration would love to repeat nationwide. Last April, Obama senior aid Valerie Jarrett ridiculously claimed, “The overwhelming scientific evidence demonstrates that conversion therapy, especially when it is practiced on young people, is neither medically nor ethically appropriate and can cause substantial harm.” Actually, studies show the vast majority of children struggling with gender identity and homosexuality eventually accept the created order even without outside help. Nevertheless, Jarrett added, “[T]his administration supports efforts to ban the use of conversion therapy for minors.”

The administration’s position encourages discrimination by forcing counselors to agree with their clients’ viewpoint — as if gender disorientation pathology shouldn’t be just socially acceptable but also considered normal. As Gov. Haslam put it, “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.” How is that discriminatory? Progressives approve of banning things that go with conscience — unless, like in Tennessee, it’s to protect the conscience of therapists whose viewpoints aren’t considered “inclusive.” They sure have a distorted definition of what inclusiveness means.

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