The Counseling Discrimination bill (SB397) by Senator Hensley is back. We saw the bill last session where it advanced in the Senate.
*Equality advocates will on the Hill in Nashville on Tuesday, March 10 working against the bill. An impressive list of district captains from around the state is leading the charge with great coverage in the Legislature, as you can see at this link.
Why is it so important to FIGHT BACK?
The bill basically lets students in the counseling, psychology, and social work programs at Tennessee universities opt out of serving certain clients because of their "sincerely held religious beliefs."
As last time, we believe the target for the bill is the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community. It may also affect student interaction with atheist clients, clients who are members of religious minorities, clients who are straight whose sexuality is objectionable to students in these programs.
Clients should not experience stigma from counselors, psychologists, or social workers. Students in these programs should learn to serve the whole public, regardless of their personal views. It's just part of good education and good practice.
TEP will join others in opposing this bill.
As the bill moves in committee, we will provide more information.