FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 27, 2016
CONTACT: Lindsay Kee, ACLU-TN communications director, 615-320-7142
NASHVILLE – Governor Bill Haslam today signed SB 1556 into law, the measure that allows counselors to deny services to clients based on the counselor’s “sincerely held principles,” with some limited exceptions.
The original wording of the bill allowed a therapist to turn away clients based on the therapist’s “sincerely held religious beliefs.”
The following can be attributed to Hedy Weinberg, executive director of the ACLU of Tennessee:
“We are disappointed that the governor has chosen to sign this troubling bill into law. This measure is rooted in the dangerous misconception that religion can be used as a free pass to discriminate. Allowing counselors to treat some potential clients differently from others based on their personal beliefs defies professional standards and could cause significant harm to vulnerable people. This law is yet another attack on the LGBT community in the wake of marriage equality — but we will continue to fight until LGBT Tennesseans are treated fairly and equally in every part of their lives and in the greater community.”