The Religious Right is once again trying to enshrine discrimination into law.
Last year, I informed Michigan AHA members of a state bill that would subvert the national standards of the counseling process and legalize discrimination in our nation’s higher education institutions. This bill was created following a tragic incident at Eastern Michigan University where a gay student was discriminated against by a counselor named Julea Ward, who, as an evangelical Christian, refused to provide counseling services to the student.
Unfortunately, a very similar bill is up for a vote in the Tennessee Senate. SB 514, “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.”
Sound familiar? That’s because extreme religious conservatives are essentially working to introduce this same discriminatory bill in as many state legislatures as possible.
Don’t give religion a free pass to discriminate. Stand up against religious discrimination by contacting your state Senator and urging her or him to oppose Senate Bill 514.
The Code of Ethics of the American Counseling Association and the Ethical Standards of the American School Counselor Association, which student counselors are obliged to follow, mandates that counselors are not to allow their personal values to intrude into their professional work.
Passage of this bill would result in countless students being refused much needed counseling services — simply because they’re not the “right” religion.
This bill is up for a vote tonight. Please take action now—contact your state Senator and oppose religious discrimination in counseling practices.