Tenn. bill would permit student counselors to reject clients based on religious beliefs and sexuality
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A former Tennessee state lawmaker turned anti-gay activist has helped draft a bill in the state legislature that would allow graduate student counselors to reject clients based on religious beliefs.
The proposed measure would bar schools from disciplining students if they decline to treat clients with “goals, outcomes or behaviors that conflict with a sincerely held religious belief of the student,” such as opposition to homosexuality.
David Fowler, president of the Family Action Council of Tennessee, who previously squared off in a fight with LGBTQ equality rights activists in an effort to change Tennessee’s anti-bullying law for students, received help from Alliance Defending Freedom,(ADF) a Phoenix-based Christian legal group, in drafting the bill.
David Fowler, FAC Tennessee
The bill was based in large part by a case in Michigan that involved a Christian student named Julea Ward, who was expelled from a master’s degree program at Eastern Michigan University for refusing to counsel gay clients or clients who were sexually active but not married.
Ward sued the school with help from ADF, and eventually received a $75,000 settlement. Fowler’s bill would bar schools from punishing students like Ward.
The Tennessean reported that the American Counseling Association, a national association for counselors, filed a friend-of-the-court brief in favor of Eastern Michigan University. That brief claimed students should not be allowed to use religion to turn down clients.Fowler said that claim violates the religious freedom of students.
Jake Morris, the director of the graduate program in counseling at Nashville-based Lipscomb Christian university said the bill is a bad idea, and that students need to be able to treat a wide range of clients, not just those who share their religious values.
The state Senate was scheduled to discuss the bill Monday, while a House subcommittee is scheduled to take it up on Tuesday.
A 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals ruling could have wide impacts for LGBTQ folks who believe they’ve been discriminated against in the workplace. While the ruling upheld it was still not against the law to discriminate against folks because of their sexuality, it did recognize sexuality under “sex” in line with anti-sex discrimination laws. Check [...]March 29, 2017
- Prev Boy Scouts distribute more than 1 million surveys seeking input on gay ban
- Next VIDEO: ‘Concerned father and husband’ testifies same-sex marriage will spread AIDS
- Back to top
- Congressman Dave Brat signs letter urging Trump to support federal “religious freedom” law
- Northam recruits Virginia’s same-sex marriage plaintiffs in new campaign ad
- ‘Beautiful: The Carol King Musical’ at the Altria offers powerful insight into the pop music legend’s dark romantic past
- Richmond LGBTQ activist found stabbed to death, left for weeks, in Chesterfield home
- National LGBTQ campaign group backs transgender candidate in race against author of Virginia’s same-sex marriage ban