Two gay men have filed a lawsuit
challenging a controversial Tennessee law that allows mental health
therapists and counselors to turn away LGBT clients.
The law, signed in April
by Republican Governor Bill Haslam, 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
Opponents say the measure
could negatively impact young LGBT people.
According to Reuters, Bleu
Copas and Caleb Laieski filed their lawsuit on Tuesday in the
Chancery Court for Anderson County. The men argued that the law
violates the Tennessee Constitution and the U.S. Constitution's 14th
“LGBT persons were the
target of the statute. They are singled out for discriminatory
treatment. There is no other group which could conceivably be the
target of the statute,” the suit reads in part.
In signing the law,
Haslam, who is named as a defendant in the suit, said that he thought
it “reasonable to allow these professionals to determine if and
when an individual would be better served by another counselor better
suited to meet his or her needs.”
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