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Tennessee is not especially welcoming to LGBT persons

Mental health counselors in Tennessee are free to turn away patients if their “goals, outcomes or behaviors” conflict with the counselor’s “sincerely held principles.” Gov. Bill Haslam signed the measure into law in 2016.

Sincerely held principles” is code for religious beliefs which is code for superstitions. I am as sick of this crap as anyone — Perhaps more so. Laws like this are obnoxious and discriminatory. A man named Bleu Copas has filed a federal lawsuit challenging the law. I’ll get hold of the complaint later but the AP reports Copas’ claims that the law represents “an actual and imminent threat of discrimination.” Good for Copas.

Now I agree that the law is evil and deserves to be challenged. I am just wondering if there are not better targets to expend money and energy on. Tennessee has no state nondiscrimination law protecting LGBT people. In fact the House Bill 1111 or Senate Bill 1085 requires the state to interpret words only by their “natural and ordinary” meanings.

Haslam signed that repulsive measure into law last May. Accordingly, state code now defines marriage as between one man and one woman. “Spouse” now means only an opposite sex marital partner. It is clearly unconstitutional.

Undefined words shall be given their natural and ordinary meaning without forced or subtle construction that would limit or extend the meaning of the language, except when a contrary intention is clearly manifest.

The law does not define what constitutes an undefined word. Only in Tennessee could the rubes come up with a law applying to undefined words when undefined words is, um, well, undefined. But I digress.

Discrimination is unacceptable in any form. However, perhaps we want to know if a therapist is a homophobic crackpot. The difference, if Mr. Copas is successful, is that is shifts the choice from the therapist to the patient — as it should be. I just think that there might be better uses for Copas’ time and money within the realm of LGBT activism. Perhaps I am being overly pragmatic; perhaps problematic.

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By David Cary Hart

Retired CEO. Formerly a W.E. Deming-trained quality-management consultant. Now just a cranky Jewish queer. Gay cis. He/Him/His.