In an unprecedented turn of events, the counseling profession and the American Counseling Association became the target of a piece of state legislation.
In Tennessee, Senate Bill 1556 (and its companion bill HB 1840) proposes that Licensed (and unlicensed) Professional Counselors in the state should be allowed to refer clients based on “strongly held religious beliefs.” Tennessee, like many states, adopted the ACA Code of Ethics into their state laws through the regulatory process overseen by the state licensing board. This legislation, if passed into law, would tell Tennessee counselors that they do not have to abide by section A.11.b. of the 2014 ACA Code of Ethics—the section titled “Values Within Termination and Referral.” It also takes away the authority of the board to enforce ethics violations under this provision. If you are a resident of Tennessee, please contact your legislator immediately and tell them to vote against this discriminatory bill.