Politics

Proposed Tennessee Law Would Allow College Counselors to Turn Away LGBT Students (Video)

| by Michael Allen
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Tennessee State Sen. Joey Hensley (R) has authored a bill that would allow college counselors to turn away LGBT students or anyone else based on religious objections.

Hensley encouraged his fellow state senators to pass SB 514 to “prevent an institution of high education from discriminating against a student in the counseling, social worker, psychology programs because of their religious beliefs.”

According the The Tennessean, the bill was inspired by Julea Ward, a Christian student who was expelled from Eastern Michigan after she refused to “engage in gay-affirming counseling” by helping a gay student who wanted to be treated for depression in 2009.

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Hensley’s bill would protect any student who “refuses to counsel or serve a client as to goals, outcomes, or behaviors that conflict with a sincerely held religious belief.” A similar bill has been introduced in the State House.

Jake Morris, head of the counseling program at the Nashville-based Christian Lipscomb University, told The Tennessean that he objected to the bill.

“I want my students to be able to help anyone who walks in their door,” said Morris. “For example, if a student thinks divorce is sinful, that student still needs to know how to treat clients who have gone through a divorce. We are health care professionals. We need to act like it.”

Source: The Tennessean