(1/4) We are deeply disheartened by the recent anti-LGBT legislation that passed in our home state of Tennessee. #NoHateInMyState
— Bonnaroo (@Bonnaroo) April 29, 2016
@Bonnaroo received backlash on twitter for their tweet about the Anti-LGBT legislation coming out of Tennessee many of those with negative comments about this, cited their opposition in terms of Bonnaroo not knowing what this law does. Under the bill SB1556 it states:
(b) The refusal to provide counseling or therapy services as described in subsection (a) shall not be the basis for:
(1) A civil cause of action; or
(2) Criminal prosecution
What sincerely held religious belief could possibly cause someone, that chose a profession that helps people, to refuse someone in need? If the therapist was Mormon and thought that black people had the curse of Canaan, could they refuse to serve black people? What if they’re Muslim and thought women should wear bags in public? Could they then refuse to help a women? What if they’re Catholic could they refuse to help divorcées?
There is an abundance of discriminatory stances that can be taken under the guise of “sincerely held religious beliefs”. All of these can be found in their “holy” books. But are we are going to let 1st century thinking influence 21st century law? The true nature of this ambiguous legislation is that it gives therapists a blank check to discriminate against anyone or anything.
A more terrifying influence of this bill is it protects school counselors as well. In the south, we have particularly insidious problem with parents who adopt the “pray the gay” away stance. There are a lot of children being abused and shunned by their own families, and communities for being LGBT.
A child in school struggling with this abuse, may now be turned away by the school counselors. These counselors may be the only lifeline to get help these children have or even know about. Being “referred” to someone else, may simply not be an option for them. Now if something happens to that child after being turned away the counselors will have no consequences for their negligence.
Let’s dig a little deeper into the history and stated reason for this bill.
The Tennessean reports on a statement made by State Senator Jack Johnson where he proclaims the bill as a response to the American Counseling Associations change in their code of ethics.
In section A.4 it states:
A.4.a. Avoiding Harm Counselors act to avoid harming their clients, trainees, and research participants and to minimize or to remedy unavoidable or unanticipated harm.
A.4.b. Personal Values Counselors are aware of—and avoid imposing—their own values, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors. Counselors respect the diversity of clients, trainees, and research participants and seek training in areas in which they are at risk of imposing their values onto clients, especially when the counselor’s values are inconsistent with the client’s goals or are discriminatory in nature.
It seems to be merely suggesting that if a counselor has personal values which may cause conflicts with the interests of their clients they seek additional training on mitigating those risks.
There was also a huge political influence by the lobbyists at the Family Action Council of Tennessee. Whose stated mission and values are to
And who also wants
They go on to state about sexuality and gender identity that:
Though our culture is currently debating gender dystopia, “transgenderism,” “gender-neutral” pronouns, and the fluidity of gender expression in order to legitimize and legislate gender definitions that are not concurrent with Scripture, the Bible makes it very clear at the beginning of God’s Word in Genesis that He made us “male and female” (Genesis 1:27).
It is clear what the purpose of this bill and its proponents desires with it are. It is an anti-LGBT pro-discrimination bill. Although, I personally think @Bonnaroo should have canceled in protest to the bill. The fact that they are using their influence to speak opposition to it will have to be sufficient for now. And they do not deserve any backlash for their calling this bill exactly what it is……….. anti-LGBT, bigoted and discriminatory.