Tennessee legislators voted to pass House Bill 1840, also known as Hate Bill 1840, which will permit professional counselors to deny services and refer clients based on the counselor's “strongly held personal beliefs.”
Not only is this legislation in direct violation of ACA's Code of Ethics, according to ACA's Director of Government Affairs, Art Terrazas, “Hate Bill 1840 is nothing but a way for hateful legislators to codify their prejudicial beliefs. The fact that they chose to change the bill from permitting counselors to deny services based on their own 'strongly held religious beliefs' to permitting counselors to deny services based on their own 'strongly held personal beliefs,' proves that they want to allow for even greater levels of discrimination."
In other words, everything would be fair game. A counselor doesn't agree with someone's sexual identify… turned away. A counselor is offended by someone's hijab… turned away. A counselor doesn't agree with someone's feminist stances… turned away. The list could go on and on. This bill is extremely dangerous for Tennesseans of all walks of life.
"If Governor Haslam has any sense of public duty, he must stand up and veto Hate Bill 1840," said Terrazas.
This legislation is discriminatory by nature, and is an unnecessary government intrusion that will likely result in costly unintended consequences for the state of Tennessee.
ACA implores Governor Haslam to veto Hate Bill 1840.
How you can help:
If you are a resident of Tennessee, please click here! You can send a message to the Governor, asking him to veto HB 1840 (aka SB 1556)!
If you are NOT a resident of the state of Tennessee, please contact the Governor’s office and let him know that signing this bill would set a dangerous precedent for mental health providers across the country. Contact the Governor at 615-741-2001 or Bill.Haslam@tn.gov or https://www.facebook.com/TeamHaslam/ and tell him to veto Hate Bill 1840 (SB 1556)! Citizens of all states can make their voices heard and send a clear message that this hateful legislation will not be tolerated in Tennessee or any other state. NOTE: In light of these recent legislative actions in Tennessee, ACA is currently weighing options regarding the location of the 2017 Conference & Expo, originally scheduled for Nashville. More information coming soon.