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Anti-LGBT counseling bill awaits Tennessee Governor's signature

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam (R), may sign into law a measure that would allow therapists to refuse patients.
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www.tennessean.com

LGBT people could face even more discrimination in the South as legislatures have granted the passage of a bill that would allow mental health professionals to deny services based on their religious convictions.

The only thing missing from making this proposal into law is a signature from Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam (R).  The Governor has not made it clear whether he will sign the bill or veto it at this time.

The South has recently been very active (and successful) in their attempts to limit services and rights to people based on religion.

In fact, this latest bill only expounds upon one already on the Governor’s desk which demands that transgender men and women be forced to use the restroom marked with their biological gender. 

Even further south, Mississippi just made into law a measure (HB 1523) which allows businesses to refuse service to anyone they deem does not fall into their “deeply held” religious beliefs.

Mental health advocates are imploring Gov. Haslam to not sign this latest piece of anti-LGBT weaponry into law. They say that it would especially affect LGBT youth who are being bullied in schools.

Opponents also feel the wording of the bill could be used to discriminate other groups, including people of color.

Earlier, Haslam agreed to change some of the verbiage from “sincerely held religious belief” to “sincerely held principal,” something Democratic Sen. Jeff Yarbro, Nashville, finds concerning.

"There's no ligitation on what those 'principles' are," Yarbro said.

If Haslam signs the bill into law, Tennessee would be the only state in which this marginalizing practice would be legal.

North Carolina, only a few weeks ago, passed a law which segregates transgender people into using public facilities which only correspond with thier biological sex.