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State Senate: Vote NO on Senate Bill 514; head of Lipscomb counseling program says it's a bad idea

Sen. Joey Hensley has introduced a bill that prohibits public institutions of higher education from disciplining or discriminating against a student in a counseling, social work, or psychology program because the student refuses to counsel or serve a client as to goals, outcomes, or behaviors that conflict with a sincerely held religious belief of the student, if the student refers the client to a counselor who will provide the counseling or services. - Amends TCA Title 4 and Title 49.

Basically this bill would allow students in certain programs to claim a religious exemption from helping certain people. The cases from other states that are cited in support of the bill typically involve clients from the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community. The law would allow students who are going into counseling professions to discriminate against such clients on the basis of religion.

The bill would have an impact on people who need counseling or assistance and it would harm the accreditation of the programs at our public universities.

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