The bill would allow mental health counselors and therapists to legally turn away clients for being LGBTQ
TENNESSEE—A Care2 petition is calling for Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam to veto HB 1840, which would allow mental health care providers to deny clients if they conflict with a “sincerely held belief.” Critics of the bill have pointed out that it would make it harder for LGBTQ individuals to receive care; the Care2 petition has gathered over 8,200 signatures in 24 hours.
View the CARE2 Petition here: www.thepetitionsite.com/911/699/800/
Care2 petition author Kelsey Bourgeois says she has benefited from counseling and doesn’t want to see mental health care denied to anyone in need.
“There is already a severe shortage of mental health care providers in this country,” says Bourgeois, who is also Care2’s Campaign Writer. “It’s reprehensible that anyone would want to deny certain populations of this necessary care. Counselors are professionals that can and should prioritize their clients’ needs over their own private beliefs.”
Some have begun referring to the bill as “Hate Bill 1840.”
When it was introduced, the bill said counselors would not “be required to counsel or serve a client as to goals, outcomes, or behaviors that conflict with a sincerely held religious belief.” The bill has been since amended to say counselors are not required to serve clients who conflict with a “sincerely held belief.”
The American Counseling Association’s (ACA) Code of Ethics says counselors may not refuse clients on grounds of “religion/spirituality…gender identity, sexual orientation, marital/partnership status…” The ACA has said this bill is an “unprecedented attack” on counseling as a profession.
GLAAD’s Nashville chapter has urged the city’s music industry to stand up against the discriminatory bill.
Care2 is a community of 34 million standing together for good. People are making world-changing impact with Care2, starting petitions and supporting each other’s campaigns to help individuals, animals and the environment. A pioneer of online advocacy since 1998, Care2 is a B Corporation, or social enterprise, using the power of business as a force for good.
[From a News Release]