While Governor Bill Haslam continues to mull his decision whether to veto the counseling discrimination bill, the American Counseling Association (ACA) is speaking out against recent comments the governor has made regarding that decision.
Earlier this week Haslam told NPR's Morning Edition that he's "talking to a lot of folks" but remains perplexed by a statement from the American Counseling Association that counselors "should always counsel from a valueless position," meaning they should always set aside personal interests when speaking with a patient.
According to NPR, he continued, "I personally wonder … regardless of whether you're a religious person or not, everybody comes into every conversation with a particular worldview and things that you believe are right or wrong. The question is can you counsel from a totally non-value-based position?"
In response, the ACA Director of Government Affairs Art Terrazas released the following statement.
We are disappointed to hear that Governor Haslam has such a fundamental misunderstanding of the counseling profession.
Counselors’ work is absolutely based on values. We value the principle that anyone, regardless of their religion or sexuality, should have access to the help they need. Our values are codified in our Code of Ethics, something to which nearly 60,000 counselors abide.
Hate Bill 1840 is an unprecedented attack on that Code of Ethics, and on our values as counselors. It mischaracterizes our profession and puts the people of Tennessee in harm’s way.
We remain hopeful that Governor Haslam will recognize that this bill is dangerous for Tennesseans of all walks of life and veto Hate Bill 1840.
The Tennessee Equality Project has created this form urging supporters to contact Gov. Haslam regarding the need for a veto of the counseling discrimination bill and then check back in with them.