When the bill was debated in committee, Sen. Stacey Campfield, R-Knoxville, suggested the state’s therapists should pray away the gay in their patients.
Refusing to counsel gay people is a violation of the American Psychological Association’s code of ethics, and that could jeopardize a graduate program’s accreditation. But who cares about that? Certainly not the Republicans running state government. The Tennessee Equality Project's Chris Sanders issued this statement:
We are disappointed that the Tennessee Senate passed bill 514 today, which creates a religious exemption for counseling, social work, and psychology students at our public universities who don’t want to serve certain clients. Just this week a LifeWay poll found that most Americans do not support discrimination and believe that equality in many areas is inevitable. So the Legislature can continue to carve out islands of discrimination, but the day is coming when no one will want to live on them.
The good news is, this bill is stalled in the House. And another anti-gay bill—that really crazy one that abolishes the Vanderbilt police force in retaliation for the university's all-comers policy—has been deemed "constitutionally suspect" in a new opinion from the state attorney general's office.