Tennessee governor signs controversial counseling bill into law

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN/AP) – Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam signed a contested counseling bill into law Wednesday.

The bill allows mental health therapists to turn patients away based on the counselors’ religious beliefs and personal principles.

Senator Jack Johnson, who sponsored the bill, previously told News 2 “it’s not anti-anybody, it’s not anti-anything; it’s just pro-religious liberty.”

The American Counseling Association says Tennessee would be the only state to allow counselors to refuse to treat patients if the bill is signed into law.

The organization called the legislation an “unprecedented attack” on the counseling profession and said Tennessee was the only state to ever pass such a law.

Opponents say the legislation is part of a wave of bills around the nation that legalizes discrimination against gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people.

Supporters say the bill protects the rights of therapists and allows them to refer patients to more appropriate counselors.What others are clicking on:

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