Target: Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam
Goal: Don’t allow mental health professionals to discriminate against LGBT individuals.
The Tennessee state legislature recently passed a bill that would allow therapists and counselors to refuse to treat LGBT patients, according to Huffington Post. If this bill is signed into law, gay and trans individuals would not be able to file lawsuits against mental health professionals who refuse to treat them based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. This could severely limit LGBT individuals’ access to mental health care.
This bill is only the latest in a series of anti-LGBT bills going through legislatures in southern states. North Carolina and Mississippi recently passed laws that allow discrimination against LGBT individuals based on religious beliefs. Because the wording of Tennessee’s bill is so vague, it could also allow discrimination based on other characteristics such as race or religion, and that discrimination need only be based on “sincerely held principles,” not necessarily on religious beliefs.
Conservative state leaders are threatening the rights of LGBT people, after LGBT activists have spent decades fighting for those rights. We cannot allow Tennessee to become the third state to treat LGBT people as lesser humans beings. Sign the petition below to encourage the governor of Tennessee to veto this bill and stop the spread of bigotry.
Dear Governor Haslam,
As you know, the Tennessee state legislature recently passed a bill that would allow mental health professionals to refuse to treat patients based on “sincerely held principles.” This bill targets LGBT individuals, and could severely limit their access to mental health care — a service that is often life-saving for them. This bill is only the latest in a series of anti-LGBT legislation passing in southern states.
Tennessee’s bill not only threatens the rights of LGBT individuals; because the wording of the bill is so vague, it could be used to discriminate against people of different races, religions, or other characteristics of their identities. If you sign this bill, you will be taking Tennessee 50 years back in time. You will be reversing a long fight for equality.
You have seen the backlash in North Carolina and Mississippi following the passage of their anti-LGBT laws. If you sign this bill, Governor, the same fate will befall Tennessee. Your state will likely lose opportunities for economic expansion, and will earn a reputation for being a hateful place.
You have the opportunity to break this horrifying trend of legalizing anti-LGBT discrimination. You have the opportunity to set an example, one that says, “I will not allow hatred in my state.” I encourage you to veto this bill and retain protections for LGBT individuals in Tennessee.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Thomas R Machnitzki