Tennessee Senate: OK to deny counseling due to religious beliefs

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Therapists or counselors in private practice could decline treatment for patients on the basis of “sincerely held religious beliefs” under a bill passed by the Tennessee Senate.

The bill is part of a wave of state legislative proposals to allow clergy, businesses or government officials to refuse services to certain people based on religious views, a response to the Supreme Court’s ruling last June that effectively legalized gay marriage nationwide.

Sen. Steve Dickerson of Nashville was the lone Republican voting against the bill. He said that as a doctor he would never refuse treatment to anyone. But fellow Republican Sen. Mark Green of Clarksville, another physician, said he regularly refers patients seeking birth control elsewhere.

The House version is scheduled for a subcommittee vote next week.

Categories: Government & Politics, Regional News

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