CONTACT: J.P. Duffy or Alice Chao, (866) FRC-NEWS or (866)-372-6397
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Yesterday, Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam signed Senate Bill 1556, which prevents counselors and therapists from being forced to counsel in a manner that conflicts with their orthodox religious beliefs provided they refer to another counselor or therapist.
Family Research Council president Tony Perkins released the following statement:
“Tennessee lawmakers are right in acting to protect the ability of therapists and counselors to continue serving in their helping profession in a manner that does not conflict with their religious beliefs. America has a long and storied history of respecting Americans’ freedom to believe and actually live their lives according to those beliefs. It was this tolerance and understanding that led the first Congress and the American people to enshrine religious freedom in our Constitution.
“Senate Bill 1556 is an important first step in preserving this fundamental freedom for those who do not agree with the Left’s radical ideology. Tennessee joins North Carolina and Mississippi in the growing list of states refusing to criminalize people whose beliefs about sexuality and marriage are at odds with President Obama’s extreme political and social agenda.
“The response from the Left to this modest bill once again reveals the absolute intolerance of those seeking to redefine human relationships and sexuality. It is clear that their goal is not access to services, it’s forcing all Americans to accept their system of beliefs or face government imposed penalties. They believe that a therapist or counselor who can’t in good conscience violate their deeply held beliefs should not be allowed to continue to serve. They believe that counseling students like Julea Ward should be forced to violate their conscience or be blocked from practicing.
“Many therapists and counselors are motivated to serve by sincerely held religious beliefs, they and everyone else are entitled to First Amendment protections,” concluded Perkins.