American Counseling Association (ACA) on Tuesday announced that it
was canceling an upcoming conference in Tennessee to protest a state
law that allows therapists to turn away LGBT clients.
law, signed by Republican Governor Bill Haslam last month, states
that counselors can refuse to treat clients based on their “sincerely
held principles,” a change from the bill's original language of
“sincerely held religious beliefs.”
say the measure could negatively impact young LGBT people.
making its announcement, ACA said that the law violates its Code of
law directly targets the counseling profession, would deny services
to those most in need, and constitutes a dilemma for ACA members
because it allows for violation of ACA's Code of Ethics,” said ACA
CEO Richard Yep. “By relocating from Tennessee, ACA is standing up
to this discriminatory law and we remain committed in the battle to
ensure that this law does not become the national standard.”
2017 Conference & Expo – which is projected to generate $2.5
million in visitor spending – was originally scheduled to take
place in Nashville.
thank the Nashville Convention and Visitors Corporation and the
Mayor's office, who offered their support to ACA regardless of our
decision to stay in or relocate from Nashville,” Yep added.
Spyridon, president and CEO of the Nashville Convention &
Visitors Corporation, said in a statement that the cancellation was
“disappointing” but not a surprise.
cancellation is the second one and is likely just the tip of the
iceberg when you consider all the other groups that won't consider us
now,” Spyridon said. “It is regrettable that all the hard work
and investment to make Nashville a top destination has been
unnecessarily undone by politics.”