Psychology/Psychiatry

Tenn.'s Discriminatory Counseling Law Protects LGBT Folks from Getting Bad Advice

As a bonus, it also avoids the thorny issue of compelled speech.

|

Therapy
Credit: Katarzyna Bialasiewicz | Dreamstime.com

Is there are service or occupation that is less of a "public accommodation" than psychological counseling? Therapy is a deeply personal, deeply intimate, often experimental process. It is dependent in part on the therapist developing a bond of trust with his or her client. Getting therapy is not like buying a pack of gum or a ticket to the movies or a stack of flapjacks at a diner. The relationship between the professional and the client actually matters.

So the anger over a new bill signed into law in Tennessee seems overheated and irrational. Yesterday Gov. Bill Haslam signed into law Senate Bill 1556, which allows counselors and therapists to decline to provide their services to a client for "goals, outcomes, or behaviors that conflict with the sincerely held principles of the counselor or therapist," as long as the professional recommends somebody else who can help the client. This is widely understood to be a law to permit therapists to turn away gay and (probably more likely) transgender clients if they are not on board with their sexual orientations or gender transitions.

It's a law that permits discrimination. There's no getting around it. The law is literally, obviously designed to allow a service provider to refuse customers on the basis of certain attributes. That doesn't, though, necessarily mean that it's a bad law. In our current round of culture war conflicts, some folks are absolutely outraged. Here's some anger from a mayor and the American Civil Liberties Union via The Tennessean:

Nashville Mayor Megan Barry, who is a Democrat and opposed the bill, said in a statement Wednesday that she was disappointed in the governor's decision to sign it into law.

"It hurts our LGBT citizens, negatively impacts our economy and seeks to undermine the counseling profession. As mayor of Nashville, I'll continue to do whatever I can to create a warm and welcoming city free from discrimination," Barry said.

Hedy Weinberg, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee, had a similar position and said ACLU is "disappointed that the governor has chosen to sign this troubling bill into law. This measure is rooted in the dangerous misconception that religion can be used as a free pass to discriminate. Allowing counselors to treat some potential clients differently from others based on their personal beliefs defies professional standards and could cause significant harm to vulnerable people."

A couple of thoughts on this that people like Barry and Weinberg should stop for a moment and consider:

First, what sort of potential "significant harm" could come to, for example, a transgender person who consults with a therapist who doesn't support or agree with transitioning but it is essentially forced to keep that belief quiet and serve this client? What sort of quality of care is that transgender person likely to get? These folks seems to be simply treating therapy like any other professional service, like getting a mole removed or one's taxes done. That's simply not how therapy works. Gay and transgender clients face significant harms from unwittingly ending up with therapists who do not support them, but are constricted by the law from saying so or sending them to a therapist who would fit them better.

Second, if we set aside for a moment the issue of whether the right of free association applies to commercial service providers, we can debate whether goods like wedding cakes or floral arrangements count as artistic expressions and are therefore subject to free speech protections. But there's no debate here: Therapy is literally speech. The consequence of an antidiscrimination law covering therapists wouldn't just be requiring them to take these clients—it would be requiring them to actually say and endorse therapeutic positions with which they do not agree. It is compelled speech disguised as occupational regulation. In the culture war cake wars, even those who argue that a baker can be forced to make a wedding cake acknowledge that the baker can't be compelled to put messages onto a cake he or she finds obscene or disagrees with. Thus a bakery can't be forced to make a cake with a swastika on it or to express overt pro-gay or anti-gay sentiments. That counts as compelled speech, and it's generally unconstitutional.

How is any of that different from the government requiring a therapist to take on clients and tell them things that therapist does not believe and in fact may believe is wrong or dangerous? Or let's consider a possible unintended outcome here: a court determines that a therapist can be obligated to accept gay or transgender clients under a state's antidiscrimination laws, but the state cannot compel the therapist to espouse positions with which he or she does not agree. Who does this even help? Certainly not the gay or transgender client.

The Tennessean notes that the reason why the state felt the need to pass this law in the first place is because Tennessee incorporates the American Counseling Association's (ACA) ethics rules into its regulations for therapists. The ACA (which opposes this law) updated its ethics rules in 2014 to prohibit referring clients to other therapists for discriminatory reasons.

Perhaps what Tennessee should be doing here is considering whether it's appropriate in the first place for the state to tie the legal right to practice an occupation with the rules set up by a private association (with its own agendas) within that occupation. The position the ACA holds sets up an easy, voluntary solution. The ACA has every right to set up ethical guidelines and require that its members follow them. Those who don't want to follow those rules do not get to be a member of the ACA. This is a completely separate matter from whether an individual should be allowed to practice therapy under Tennessee law.

Then the ACA can promote the fact that their members do not discriminate. People looking for counseling on gay or transgender issues will then know that when they select somebody who is a member of the ACA, they'll find a supportive therapist. The Tennessean even notes that some activists are setting up an initiative for counselors to sign up and indicate that they won't discriminate. I bet they're going to find plenty of them.

Finally, I suspect that the outcome people want but are reluctant to actually say out loud is that they don't want people to hold these anti-gay, anti-transgender attitudes at all, and if they do, they should be forbidden from being therapists, period. That's a very blinkered, simplistic attitude toward a field of work that provides a wide spread of counseling treatments. That a particular therapist is not a good choice for a gay or transgender teen to seek counseling does not mean that therapist isn't great at other types of treatment in the field for other people. It's a needlessly reductive attitude. Let a thousand therapists bloom and leave it to citizens to find the ones that fit them best.

There is no reason for this conflict to even be happening at all. The government should not be playing a role in determining the circumstances by which therapists take on clients and it should most clearly and obviously not be determining what therapists say in their sessions. 

NEXT: SpaceX Foots the Bill for 2018 Mission to Mars

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Flapjacks? *sigh*

    They’re called pancakes.

    1. My disgusting colleague Sparky is correct. Pancakes is the only term that can be accepted. Pancakes now, pancakes forever.

        1. *murders FoE’s family*

          1. That escalated quickly

            1. Well, it is Warty.

              1. Murdering someone’s family is just how he says “Hello.”

            1. I can’t believe The Far Side has been gone for 21 years. I’m old.

              1. YEah, who the fuck cares about Bloom County coming back? We want Far Side!

        2. Johnnycakes.

            1. And now you’re just making up words that don’t exist.

            2. crepe

              with some strange looking accent mark or something

                1. Pajeon.

          1. Again, different. That’s just what Jews call potato pancakes. Which are obviously not pancakes.

        1. Those are different. Those are fried stuffed tortillas. Clearly not a pancake.

        2. Garnachas, bro. Yeah, I’m cutting edge. There’s only a few places in LA that serve them.

          1. Mmm. I’ll have to find a place.

          2. Hm. So…a tostada with a dumber name?

              1. YOU’RE NOT EVEN CLOSE

      1. Lefse?

        Hitlercakes?

      2. Dutch Baby

  2. In the culture war cake wars, even those who argue that a baker can be forced to make a wedding cake acknowledge that the baker can’t be compelled to put messages onto a cake he or she finds obscene or disagrees with.

    Someone bake me a cake with an explanation on it of how this makes sense.

    1. FYTW.

      The slightly-longer form is, “Well, you’re not really saying anything with just a cake. Not really. Speech is, you know, symbols and words and shit.”

      FYTW, basically.

      1. I wish artistic creation was covered under the First Amendment.

        1. I know. But, people just aren’t ready yet for the idea that paintings and sculptures aren’t protected by the 1A. Maybe someday.

          1. It’s an interesting line of thought, the distinctions between speech, art and compelled association. It’s a pity this isn’t the national conversation going on, rather than, “Do what we say, and we shall think of a clever justification later!”

            And definitions, because the baby Jesus knows that, “That ain’t art. Not really. Art is, you know, nudes with tasteful urns and cherubs, and whatnot.”

            Let’s say my boss required me to attend a Bernie Sanders rally. Assume I was being paid for my time, at my regular wage, and my boss required only my attendance. I needn’t say anything. Is this compelling political speech?

            I’m not an avid reader of legal blogs, so maybe this scenario is already a matter of law. If so, I look forward to further enlightenment.

            1. Let’s say my boss required me to attend a Bernie Sanders rally. Assume I was being paid for my time, at my regular wage, and my boss required only my attendance. I needn’t say anything. Is this compelling political speech?

              No. I’m sure lots of bosses require their employees to attend political rallies. Reporters, janitors, and caterers would be a few examples.

              But, even if you mean that a boss required his employee to go and merely act as if they were a supporter, that still wouldn’t violate the first amendment. While, in that case, it might be compelled speech, the first amendment only applies to government. So, if an employee says something or fails to say something, the employer has every right to fire him for that. An example would be ESPN firing Curt Schilling for what he said on Facebook.

              1. I’m sure lots of bosses require their employees to attend political rallies. Reporters, janitors, and caterers would be a few examples.

                But, even if you mean that a boss required his employee to go and merely act as if they were a supporter…

                This might have something to do why why the national conversation is the way it is.

            2. If your boss couldn’t require you to show support for Bernie Sanders, how could Bernie Sanders hire campaign staff?

              1. All rightie then, if compelling political speech is fine between private parties, then why are the gay cakes even an issue?

                Compelling political speech between two private parties is, of course, perfectly fine with no deeper nuances, according to you two gentlemen.

                I look forward to your responses.

                1. All rightie then, if compelling political speech is fine between private parties, then why are the gay cakes even an issue?

                  Because the wedding cake issue is one of government compulsion. If you refuse to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple, the government comes in and fines you, closes you down and/or throws you in jail.

                  OTOH, if an employer compels you to do something and you refuse, all he can do is fire you. So, a gay man walks into your bakery and asks you to bake a wedding cake. You say, “Sure, that’ll be $50.” He says “Write on it ‘Happy Wedding Day Adam and Steve'”. You say, “Oh, I’m sorry, I don’t do gay wedding cakes.” And then he fires you from this job and finds someone else.

    2. Finally, I suspect that the outcome people want but are reluctant to actually say out loud is that they don’t want people to hold these anti-gay, anti-transgender attitudes at all, and if they do, they should be forbidden from living being therapists, period.
      There, FIFY

  3. The outrage seems pointless, but so does the law. Unless therapists weren’t always free to say, “I don’t like you, fuck off.”

    1. Patient: “I’m depressed all the time.”
      Therapist: “Your homosexuality may have something to do with that.”

      1. Patient: “I’d like a second opinion.”
        Therapist: “Okay. You’re ugly, too.”

        1. Patient: “Nothing seems to be working out for me”
          Therapist: “I suggest it is because you are a Loser”

        2. You literally made me lol.

    2. Yeah, I don’t think that therapists are compelled to take on anyone who walks in the door, are they? If they are, that would be worthy of some outrage.

      1. No, but the issue was never about being booked up, it’s categorically refusing to serve a class of people. A baker could always claim to have too many orders for a given weekend, but she’s not allowed to refuse to participate in an event she finds immoral. Not if the customers are gay, in any event.

        1. As far as I know, therapists also can drop patients who they don’t think are a good fit with them.

          1. Without risking being sued for discrimination?

            1. I don’t know. I just can’t comprehend the mindset of someone who would want to compel someone who completely disagrees with what they are looking for to serve them anyway, so I can’t understand why this is even an issue.

              1. Because it proves they’re right and you’re wrong when the debate is silenced from on high.

              2. For the same reason that gay wedding cakes and pizza catering are an issue. Because it is a rock with which to beat their enemies to death.

                Remember this when Tony and Red Tony foul up these threads. When you think like a caveman, every issue is a rock with which to bludgeon your enemies and steal their mammoth steaks.

                1. The pizza catering wasn’t even a real thing. It was a hypothetical gay wedding catered by a pizza place in Indiana.

                  1. The gay pizza thing was incredibly stupid. Are there a bunch of gay people having to share their wedding receptions with a 12 year olds’ birthday party?

                    1. The gay pizza thing was incredibly stupid.

                      Stupider than you know.

                2. And there are a lot of cavemen out there. Seems to be how politics operates these days.

                  God, people are fucking lame sometimes.

        2. A baker could always claim to have too many orders for a given weekend, but she’s not allowed to refuse to participate in an event she finds immoral.

          Exactly that. Which means they are stating a bias against gay marriage rather than just refusing service on booking.

          Which, of course, still doesn’t mean they should be sued.

          1. The ironic part is that the law isn’t “anti-gay,” since the result can go either way.

            Prospective patient: “I’m gay, and I want to be straight. Cure me.”

            Gay therapist: I don’t think homosexuality is a disease to be cured, and I have no clue about how to attempt it. You would be much better off seeing Dr. Quack.”

      2. From the article:

        The Tennessean notes that the reason why the state felt the need to pass this law in the first place is because Tennessee incorporates the American Counseling Association’s (ACA) ethics rules into its regulations for therapists. The ACA (which opposes this law) updated its ethics rules in 2014 to prohibit referring clients to other therapists for discriminatory reasons.”

        1. Who would a therapist refer a client to for discriminatory reasons?

    3. So you didn’t read the article, then? The problem is that Tennessee, like other states, incorporates the guidelines from professional organizations automatically into its regulations. The ACA just updated its guidelines to say that, no, therapists aren’t allowed to do that, and Tennessee is clarifying that it’s not incorporating that part.

  4. I don’t think it does any damage to your professional pride to provide shitty service when forced to provide service. You know, like a cake baker using salt instead of sugar. Or a therapist counseling someone to get over it when they complain about being depressed.

    1. This

      Why would I force a cook, baker, or bartender (much less a doctor!) who hates me to provide me with their services against their will? Seems crazy unless the idea of ingesting piss and spit is a turn-on.

      1. NTTAWWT nowadays, of course. Whatever floats your boat.

        Although I wonder if those special ingredients shouldn’t be charged for on a cost-plus basis.

      2. Because it’s not a matter of forcing anyone to do your bidding, it’s about punishing them for attempting to exercise their freedom of conscience. It’s the ethical equivalent of pulling a gun over a traffic dispute.

        1. My point is to not even let it come to that. If you don’t like gays but you don’t want to hassle with a lawsuit, just use salt instead of sugar then blame some unnamed lackey for dumping salt into the sugar container. It’s an honest mistake.

        2. I wasn’t going to shoot the guy.

      3. Which brings us to my model anti-discrimination law – they can be forced to bake you a cake. And you can be forced to eat said cake.

        1. I have a similar view on the bathroom thing. If you’re demanding a law to use the men’s room at school/work/etc., then you must also use it at bars, sporting events, and gas stations.

          1. +1 the old football stadium trough.

          2. Good luck forcing a guy to go to the bathroom indoors when there’s a perfectly suitable alley nearby.

            1. Not a good example. There are men on the sex-offender watch list for urinating in public.

    2. This explains the DMV, O-Care, Post Office, all federal office, etc.

  5. The consequence of an antidiscrimination law covering therapists wouldn’t just be requiring them to take these clients?it would be requiring them to actually say and endorse therapeutic positions with which they do not agree.

    So we’re just taking it as given that the therapies such counselors find morally repugnant are the best therapies for gender dysphoria?

    1. I don’t think one needs to assume that. Just that some do. It doesn’t seem like there is much agreement on the best way to treat gender dysphoria.

      Seems like such a law would also require therapists who think that gay conversion therapy is bullshit to do that if that is what the patient wants, for example.

      1. The author, and presumably opponents of the law, would handle someone who advises against transitioning the same as someone who is transphobic. The upshot seems to be that you can’t suggest alternative therapies if a client is set on transitioning.

        1. But what about if the client is set on not transitioning, or curing the gay? Are the therapists forbidden to suggest that might not be the best way to go?

          1. I would guess, given the hysterical climate surrounding all things gay and trans, that a therapist who counsels against transitioning would be crucified by activists even if his client is a willing participant. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, if evidence prevailed over politics. Therapists who enable their clients’ destructive habits should be drummed out. But the trans issue is all politics.

    2. How about this:

      If this ‘trans’ thing isn’t a mental disorder, why are therapists allowed to even have an opinion on it at all? After all, it’s perfectly normal behavior so clearly they should be disallowed from providing an opinion on something so absolutely normal and wholesome. If they come in with depression, fork over pills and you’re done. Easy!

      When they get to the point where a viewpoint held by a tiny fraction of a faction of the populace, such as believing that the voices in your head are God telling you to burn people, are in fact perfectly normal what point is there to being a therapist beyond rationing medications? You’ve already given up the entire rationale for therapy as a professional field. If there is no normal or right, there is no need to provide people guidance because there can be no goal.

      1. That would certainly free up all the therapists to become much better paid life coaches.

      2. YEAH BUT TEATHUGLIKKANZ!!!!!! /Tony

      3. Shut up and get on the right side of history already, wouldja BYODB?

        Dogs and cats live together. Deal with it!

        1. I just find it laughable that a ‘science’ based on mostly opinion and conjecture, yet requires a license to perform the job, is being threatened with removal of their license for being based on opinion and conjecture.

          Note that there is a difference between a therapist and a psychiatrist, and I am talking about the former.

          The thing I find sad is that they just gave up on treating this mental problem, relabeled it as ‘normal’ and threw surgery and hormone therapy at them because a new minority needs to be invented every few years. The result? They tend to kill themselves.

          At least when someone is nuts and believes voices are telling them to burn things they end up with medication or institutionalization that actually seems to help and/or prevent harm to the nutjob or others if it’s a legitimate concern. (And please note, I am not suggesting to lock up people who think they’re a different gender. That’s just stupid unless they’re threatening to, you know, kill people or cause property damage.)

          1. At least when someone is nuts and believes voices are telling them to burn things they end up with medication or institutionalization that actually seems to help and/or prevent harm to the nutjob or others if it’s a legitimate concern. (And please note, I am not suggesting to lock up people who think they’re a different gender. That’s just stupid unless they’re threatening to, you know, kill people or cause property damage.)

            The bolding is where I have an issue with the trans phenomenon. Why do we not view the destruction/removal of perfectly normal, operational, healthy organs as destructive to the patient? Aren’t these people harming themselves?

            My libertarian side recognizes that we can’t (and shouldn’t) force these people to do anything, but why do doctors indulge them? Most doctors (except the rare dipshit ones) don’t amputate the limbs of BIID sufferers. I’m speaking from a purely “help your neighbor” sense of this. I don’t want to belittle these people, but I also don’t plan on encouraging destructive behavior (whether it be cutting oneself because of depression, or cutting off healthy limbs/organs because someone doesn’t think they should be there).

            1. I’ve made similar arguments in the past where I lament my ability to find a surgeon willing to cut off my perfectly fine legs because I self-identify as a cripple.

            2. And the ‘why’ is surprisingly simple in my opinion, because otherwise they will probably be sued and in the current political climate they’ll probably lose or, at the very least, be forced to settle for some lump sum. I imagine there’s a very real profit to be made there by some shrewd but unprincipled liar shopping around for ‘transphobic’ surgeons.

            3. “Why do we not view the destruction/removal of perfectly normal, operational, healthy organs as destructive to the patient?”
              I don’t know about you, but when I was somewhere around minutes old they snipped off the tip of my dick. My complaint about this is largely viewed as “much ado about nothing”.

              For that matter, the entire *point* of cosmetic surgery is people permanently surgically altering their bodies in non-necessary ways because they think they’ll be happier after the procedure. The classic boob job? Has a good chance to permanently reduce sensation in the areola. But women go ahead and get it done anyway.

              As for “why do doctors indulge them?”, well they’re *paid* to do so.

          2. I find the whole field absurd. I’ve got no problem with offering people assistance or an ear to bend (a la AA or other ‘Churching’), but the notion of reliably/mechanically tweaking their brains/behavior one way or the other, and doing so systematically, is just all kinds of evil/creepy/spooky to me.

            That revulsion aside, a bit of my point was that the focus on systematic naming, labeling, and listing in general has, IMO, caused and inattentional blindness/unintended consequences. The fascination/hyper-focus on (sub-)minorities and their outcomes has occurred (causally or not, intentionally or not) at a time when the public at larges’ mental health is far from being on solid ground. It effectively sends a nice big ‘fuck you’ message to everyone else.

            I don’t disagree with your point; they pretty literally did start grinding up genitals and prescribing hormone regimens with no proof of outcome or even counter-indications of such. More relevant though, (white) women and black teens are hanging themselves in record numbers (for whatever reason) and the mental health community is effectively telling them that they really should be more tolerant of the plight of (lgb)transgendered individuals (that they may never meet).

          3. What if people want to join deaf culture by deafening themselves?

          4. “…a ‘science’ based on mostly opinion and conjecture”, which of course is merely your own use of conjecture. This isn’t 19th century Freud we’re talking about. Psychological counseling is a research-based field. Therapeutic strategies are based on empirically supported best practices. Regardless of one’s opinion about this Tennessee law, there’s no reason to impugn the field.
            Again, how fortunate you are that neither you nor your loved ones have needed therapeutic counseling. Perhaps you should just be grateful instead of bad-mouthing those who do and those who practice in the field.

      4. Wow, you really don’t understand what therapy is. Many “normal” things can cause stress, anxiety, or other symptoms of mental anguish. If those symptoms have an abnormally adverse effect, then professional assistance is helpful. Therapists help people develop strategies for coping with debilitating anguish. It’s not about denying that existence of “normal or right”, it’s about helping people function smoothly in life despite difficult circumstances that might evoke cognitive or emotional distress.
        It must be nice to have life figured out so perfectly that you don’t have to consider how others might struggle on occasion.

  6. Second, if we set aside for a moment the issue of whether the right of free association applies to commercial service providers

    “For a moment” meaning the past half century and the foreseeable future. You know, the libertarian moment.

    1. Give the conversations on the subject here, I don’t think we’ve put it aside at all.

    2. I don’t even see an issue there. Of course commercial service providers have a right of free association, just like they have the right of free speech, etc.

      The issue is whether that right should be limited or abrogated in the pursuit of social goals.

      1. The issue is whether that right should be limited or abrogated in the pursuit of social goals.

        The answer to that is No. Full stop.

        1. ^This times infinity

  7. The ACLU has evolved to a point where it has completely written freedom of association out of the Constitution.

    The good news from all of this is that soon every state will have passed an offending statute that invites boycott.

    1. It’s hard to imagine Connecticut passing one of those kinds of “offending statutes”.
      *sigh*

      1. Their tax policies will make boycotts redundant.

  8. It’s truly amazing how new legislation with mean-spirited goals meant to do nothing but signify the theocratic bona fides of pandering asshole politicians somehow hits the sweet spot of passing the libertarian test.

    1. Go fuck a duck, Tony.

    2. If you’re the one who thinks violence is justified in response to somebody refusing to serve you, you’re the asshole.

      1. I don’t think that. But you’re using violence metaphorically. I understand that libertarians are only against the metaphorical kinds of violence, like taxation. Shooting a kid who sets foot on your lawn, that’s cool.

        1. Metaphorical right up until you opt out of the metaphor. Then it’s rape cages and guns.

        2. So, if I don’t pay my taxes, the IRS just shrugs it off?

        3. What happens if you don’t pay your taxes?

          1. Same thing that happens if you break any other law. Are you an anarchist?

            1. In other words, you know your “metaphorical violence” canard for the bullshit that it is, but you refuse to come out and say it.

              1. Tax dodgers, like drug users, deserve to be imprisoned or shot.

                /Tony

              2. This is why it’s always important to ask the question. If they bother to answer, well then you have your answer.

                As to you Tony, if this law is mean spirited to one group is it therefore impossible that it would be righteous to another? Nah, couldn’t be! Lets just legislate behavior! What could go wrong?

            2. Yes. Logical consistency does wonders for that cognitive dissonance you’ve been suffering through.

              Come to the An-Cap side! We don’t do violence to anyone who hasn’t initiated it! You may buy our cookies if you can find someone willing to make them for you at a mutually agreed upon price!

              (We may need to work on our pitch…)

        4. On the Tony scale of 1-10, 10 being the most evil, how do these two things rate:

          1. Putting someone in prison for not taking a therapy patient.
          2. Shooting someone who walked onto your property.

          I will grant you that number 2 is retarded and anyone who is ok with it is a retard.

          1. Tony still believes Zimmerman murdered a child.

          2. I don’t believe in imprisoning people except when they present an immediate physical danger to others. I also don’t believe in making property rights strong enough so that mere trespassing grants license to murder.

            1. BYODB|4.28.16 @ 1:04PM|#|?|filternamelinkcustom

              What happens if you don’t pay your taxes?

              Tony|4.28.16 @ 1:09PM|#|?|filternamelinkcustomrehide

              Same thing that happens if you break any other law. Are you an anarchist?

              So Tony thinks that not paying your taxes “present(s) an immediate physical danger to others.”

              1. I don’t support law enforcement that takes the form of locking people up like animals in order to punish them. But the taxes-are-kinda-like-violence argument doesn’t address any specific law, it’s an argument against law itself.

                1. Taxes aren’t violence. The enforcement of paying them is. It’s really quite simple.

                2. “I don’t believe in imprisoning people except when they present an immediate physical danger to others.”

                  “I don’t support law enforcement that takes the form of locking people up like animals in order to punish them.”

                  I think I have whiplash Tony…

                3. But the taxes-are-kinda-like-violence argument doesn’t address any specific law, it’s an argument against law itself.

                  Non Sequitur. Law exists outside government.

            2. You’re fine with bludgeoning a perfectly innocent strawman to death, though.

            3. You appear to be alright with fining people who won’t behave properly. If people refuse to pay the fine, then what?

              1. What’s the going rate for jail time? Last time I checked you earn $100 a day towards your ‘fine’ when they lock you up!

        5. This isn’t a case of metaphorical violence. It might not be violent on its face, but any enforcement of such a requirement (that therapists treat patients against the therapist’s will) would ultimately end up being violent.

          1. Extortion isn’t violence, either. It’s just a peaceful transaction between a businessman and the mafioso implying that his store might catch fire otherwise. It’s implied violence. Metaphorical. So there’s no real violence. Totally legit.

          2. This is an anarchist’s objection to the concept of law itself, not an argument against this specific one.

            1. Only if you equate anarchism with pacifism.

            2. While you, elsewhere in this thread, only want to lock up people who represent an immediate *future* threat.

              1. I take a pro-freedom position so radical it doesn’t even show up in libertarian circles, and you’re giving me shit?

                1. Your pro-freedom position requires that men with guns force people to serve you.

                  1. “Your pro-freedom position requires that men with guns force people to serve you.”

                    What freedom could be more free than having others serve you while you do all the things you don’t *want* to do?

                2. Public accommodations laws preserve freedom. Not the freedoms of the business owner, but fuck him, right? He’s basically a criminal anyway for accepting money for services.

                  1. Public accommodations laws preserve freedom.

                    Actually, they don’t. Unless you think freedom includes the freedom to force people to do things they don’t want to do.

                    1. That’s Tony’s definition of liberty.

                      His definition of prosperity is bread lines, so you may not want to use Tony as a reference.

                  2. And Tony is the one attacking straw men?

    3. Not really, if you assume that the anti-theocrats this is aimed at are a sort of theocracy, far more totalitarian if less mystical, themselves.

  9. The law says therapists can refuse to provide service based on things that conflict with their “sincerely held principles”.

    If more of these laws were written this way, I would support more of them. Allowing exceptions to the law based on “sincerely held religious belief” is not acceptable and is a handout provide to specific, favored religions. When you base it on “sincerely held principles” it actually applies to everyone.

    I would never qualify for Hobby Lobby style exemptions, but I would qualify for this one.

    1. Yes. As I often say, you can’t get freedom of religion (or conscience) by making special exceptions. Any law that forces anyone to violate their sincerely held beliefs (that don’t require injury to others, of course) should not apply to anyone.

      1. But “sincerely held beliefs” is also a trap. Because now its up to a third party to adjudicate whether your beliefs are “sincerely held”.

        As we have seen with religious exemptions, which put the government squarely in the business of recognizing religions in order to dole out privileges to the “legit” ones only.

        1. Yes, good point. Anytime a court has to certify your beliefs, your rights are being trampled. I like a broad reading of the establishment clause that includes prohibition on government even being allowed to decide what is or is not a religion. If they say that my coke and whores religion is not a religion, how is that not in some sense a law respecting establishment of religion?

          The only real answer for religious and conscience freedom is a libertarian government which only criminalizes things that directly harm others.

          1. The only real answer for religious and conscience freedom is a libertarian government which only criminalizes things that directly harm others.

            Ding ding. We have a winner.

          2. Amen! My comment was more in the baby-steps category. First, establish that it doesn’t matter whether Joe Businessowner’s objection to paying for something that he considers to be abortion is based on his own conscience or the conscience of his priest/preacher/imam/etc. This gets us to the point where the resolution isn’t solely dependent on freedom of religion. Then, I think it’s easier to tear down the “sincerely held” part.

            Of course, if you kill the “sincerely held’ part first, then religion vs principal becomes moot because I can simply declare that my religion (with a worldwide following of one person) demands that I can’t do that thing.

          3. It’s not a law respecting establishment of religion because it’s not a law establishing a religion.

            Your religion, and whether it’s a religion or not, has nothing to do with Congress’s making a law respecting establishment of religion.

  10. There shouldn’t be a need for a law of this nature, but I accept it as a workable if annoying defense against frivolous discrimination lawsuits.

    Bonus points to Berry for claiming straight-faced that it hurts both therapists and their customers. No, mostly it just hurts lawyers and progressive groupthinkers.

    1. What’s libertarian about laws that restrict people’s right to sue?

      1. The potential lawsuit victim’s freedom of association and property rights?

        1. Shouldn’t judges sort that out based on the specific facts at hand? More libertarian endorsement of legislatures restricting individual liberty. I missed this place.

          1. Ladies and gentlemen, your impenetrable stupidity: Exhibit A.

          2. Suing the shit out of everybody who looks at you funny isn’t a libertarian position Tony.

          3. Have you ever heard of the term, “The Process is the Punishment”, Tony? The idea of most discrimination suits is to literally drag someone’s name through the mud until they give up and settle, paying all court costs, and agreeing to atone in some manner beyond the monetary for their wrongthink.

          4. Shouldn’t judges sort that out based on the specific facts at hand?

            Tony, judges aren’t supposed to just look at the facts and dictate what they think the right solution is.

            They are supposed to apply the law. As in “I think turning away gay people sucks, but there’s no law against it, so I, as a judge, can’t take all your shit and throw you in a cage for doing so.”

      2. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I support your right to sue me for looking at you funny Tony (as I am right now). Doesn’t mean I think you should win that suit. Doesn’t mean that a law that says “hey, people are allowed to look at you funny” is anti-liberty.

        1. Automatically winning a suit isn’t what anyone’s talking about. I think tort reform (in its various incarnations), that is, restricting people’s right to sue in the first place, is what separates the libertarian men from the corporate whore boys.

          1. Bullshit, Tony, you don’t think. You emote. Like a fucking retard. Except you’re also incredibly dishonest as well.

        2. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I support your right to sue me for looking at you funny Tony (as I am right now). Doesn’t mean I think you should win that suit. Doesn’t mean that a law that says “hey, people are allowed to look at you funny” is anti-liberty.

          Only if you can hit back with attorney’s fees for frivolous litigation and a countersuit for defamation.

      3. What isnt? Being turned away by a therapist doesnt constitute damages in and of itself, or any therapist could be sued. Discrimination is only a tort because the state says so. The state giveth and the state taketh away, Tony.

  11. “So the anger over a new bill signed into law in Tennessee seems overheated and irrational.”

    No, it’s completely rational.

    They want to pull the licenses of therapists who hold traditional views on sexuality. Those who have vague scruples, or a lingering affection for traditional sexuality, are to be made to change their outlook. Those who refuse to conform will be cast out, and threatened with prison if they should dare to practice therapy without a license.

    It’s a perfectly logical and rational position. Also evil.

    1. Couldn’t it also have the effect of punishing therapists who disagree with, for example, gay conversion therapy? Some people do actually seek that out.

      1. I don’t see how. If the therapist doesn’t agree with gay conversion therapy, they wouldn’t offer it. So no one wanting it would ever come to them for help.

        1. As I read it, I don’t think it empowers therapists to use whatever therapies they want, even if the licensing board deems these therapies harmful.

          It just says that if they *don’t* want to provide a particular therapeutic service to which they object, they won’t have to.

          But that doesn’t mean he can go wild and practice electroshock therapy, recovered memory therapy, or any dubious stuff that comes into his head.

          In short, he can still be disciplined for the treatments he performs, he just can’t be disciplined for the treatments he *doesn’t* perform.

        2. Someone goes to a therapist and says “make me not gay”. Many therapists don’t consider that a valid treatment and would either try to convince them otherwise or suggest they go elsewhere.

          Or am I misunderstanding something. I’ll admit I just sort of skimmed the article.

          1. As I understand it, the bill doesn’t affect gay conversion therapy – so if the licensing authority considers it a violation of ethics, they can punish the practioners.

          2. You misunderstand.

            This is closer to the Jewish deli scenario. The Jewish deli does not offer ham. No one that goes into the deli gets ham. No one is discriminated because they can’t get ham at the deli.

            However, if a (rolls dice) Baptist goes into the Jewish deli, and the deli tells him to turn away, they don’t serve Baptists, then the deli is discriminating. Not because the Baptist didn’t get his ham (no one gets ham), but because the deli was refusing him *categorically*.

            The ACA’s rules were that practioners could not refuse clients *categorically*. So if you’re a therapist that specializes in autism treatments, you can’t refuse patient X with autism because patient X is gay. Just like they can’t refuse patient Y with autism because patient Y is Baptist.

            TN’s law is overruling the ACA, saying that yes, you *can* refuse someone because they’re Baptist, gay, or have the wrong views on whether Harriet Tubman or Andrew Jackson should be on the $20 bill.

  12. It also allows therapists to discriminate against Trump supporters.

  13. Why is a law that says everyone which a moral objection is free to serve whomever they want a “discriminatory law”? That makes no sense.

    1. When the practical effect of a “free association” law is No Blacks Allowed signs, at some point it’s to stop being an obtuse moron and realize that the practical effect is the intended effect.

      1. That is the people doing that not the law. Jim Crow made it illegal to have an integrated business. This is not that. No one is saying you must do anything.

      2. So you see, so called “free association” can’t be allowed because people might make the wrong choices.

        1. Enough people making the wrong choices is called a social problem.

          1. Which can only be fixed by a social solution.

            1. Tony upthread: “I’m not in favor of violence against people who aren’t a direct physical threat”

              Tony here: “I’m totally in favor of violence if people make the wrong choices”

              PRO-FREEDOM

              1. Tony is on the record saying that climate deniers should be lined up and shot. So it’s not like he is honest or consistent. Well, he’s consistently stupid and obtuse, but that’s not what I meant.

                1. LOL, “lined up and shot” probably meets his definition of a social solution. The idea that people can work shit out themselves is utterly foreign to him.

                  1. LOL, “lined up and shot” probably meets his definition of a social solution.

                    Yeah. A final one at that.

          2. Who determines what the “wrong choice” is?

            1. His god Government. Who else?

            2. Just consult the Chairman’s Little Red Book.

            3. People observing the social problem resulting from it.

              1. I hate to break it to you Tony, but you yourself are the very personification of a “social problem”.

              2. Which people, Tony? And by what authority?

              3. Tony, how badly do you wishing stoning was brought back. You could participate in the institutional violence instead of just worshiping it. The blood thirsty screams of the crowd. The fear in the heretics eyes. How hard does that make you?

            4. It seems to me that “enough people making the wrong [or even right] choice,” when backed by government’s monopoly on force, is just called “democracy.”

          3. So some sort of tiny minority should rule the majority. Hmm. These supermen would “dictate” how society should be run. What would we call it?

            1. Top. Men.

            2. The Justice League?

          4. Tony, are you saying that given the Indiana Pizza Catering issue, the media wouldn’t take a case of genuine discrimination where it’s more blatant than the hypothetical pizzeria catering and run with that for all of the ad dollars they could get? That’s just disingenuous. Any vestige of wrongthink is being called out in the media these days, and if it is something that will draw eyeballs, it gets mainstreamed. If we honestly dropped all of the “public” accommodation provisions dealing with private property, I don’t think you would see very much actual racism, since firms large and small don’t want that kind of publicity, and its the rare Christian or Muslim baker that would refuse to serve a gay wedding in practice. The social and economic consequences would work to eliminate any vestiges of discrimination that still exist at the fringes of society by making the free market work to eliminate discriminatory firms.

          5. Enough people making the wrong choices is called a social problem.

            Good setup for an Iron Law:

            You aren’t free unless you are free to be wrong.

            1. Iron Laws are for people who can’t think.

          6. “Enough people making the wrong choices is called a social problem.”

            That would make a really nice ironwork slogan hanging over the entrance to a gate.

          7. Enough people making the wrong choices is called a social problem Democracy

            FIFY

      3. So, this law allowing therapists to choose not to serve certain people is *really* about bringing back Jim Crow?

        I didn’t totally follow you’re logic getting there. Can you share the steps?

        1. Can you share the steps?

          Emotional reaction, confusion, and then outright stupidity. It’s the Tony way.

        2. If a therapist can’t legally turn away a patient for being black, then he or she shouldn’t be able to turn a patient away for being gay. I’ll debate the merits of antidiscrimination law if you want, but that consistency under the law is my baseline, as any other arrangement gives tacit approval to discrimination against gays and gays alone.

          1. Emotional reaction, confusion, and then outright stupidity. It’s the Tony way.

            Right on cue, Tony.

          2. Tony, is there a difference between a law that mandates racial discrimination, and one that outlaws racial discrimination?

            Show your work.

          3. This implies you could cure being black with therapy. This is an interesting comparison to make, Tony.

            1. (Note that I don’t particularly think you could ‘cure’ being gay with therapy, but this all hinges on what you think about the source of being gay. Is it physical, mental, both, or what? We don’t really know, but we do know that being black has nothing to do with the mind.)

              1. Rachel Dolezal approves of your comment.

                1. Shit, I think you just drove an Escalade through my argument…

    2. The part that I can’t figure out is that when I heard the report this morning, there was nothing in the law that I saw that said anything about LGBT people, yet it was reported as an LGBT discrimination law.

      I mean, I don’t know what the intent of the lawmakers was who passed this law, claiming that ONLY lgbt people will be discriminated against is a little disingenuous.

      1. Its very disingenuous. When heard about this law my first thought was someone who was Muslim not wanting to give treatment for PTSD from the war or someone who is Catholic not wanting to do therapy for a polymorous relationship. Or maybe someone who was a victim of child abuse turning away a client who is attracted to children. There are a ton of reasons why a therapists could and turn away clients for moral reasons that have nothing to do with gays.

        But everything is about the gays these days, except when it is about the trannies. You must conform or else.

        1. If you didn’t realize this was about gays then you’re the one being either disingenuous or an idiot.

          It’s okay if you haven’t been paying attention to the rightwing backlash against gay civil rights successes. You have no reason to. But I’m glad you’re informed now.

          1. No. I am just not obsessed with people’s sexualy and don’t think everything they do is the result of it. And if there has been a backlash, well that tends to happen when you start suing people out of business for the crime of disagreeing with you. You can sue all you like but it is a bit much for you then to expect the people you are suing to like you. If you really wanted acceptance rather than revenge, i don’t think you would support running people out of business for the crime of not wanting to be part of a wedding.

            1. Believe it or not, I appreciate the pragmatic argument that pushing people too fast on accepting minority rights can cause more immediate harm than good (i.e., a backlash), and that this should be considered in any strategy to increase said rights.
              But in return I would hope a thoughtful conservative or libertarian would realize that he may not have the slightest notion of the actual harm caused by being discriminated against in the marketplace.

              1. You’re not pragmatic in the slightest, Tony. You’re consequentialist. Anything for power, anything to advance your pet causes, however much it costs other people.

              2. “But in return I would hope a thoughtful conservative or libertarian would realize that he may not have the slightest notion of the actual harm caused by being discriminated against in the marketplace.”

                You have no idea what it means to hold unpopular political views, do you?

                1. No I’m just a gay liberal living in like the 2nd reddest state in the country.

                  1. I … I … I thought you were the only true libertarian posting at Reason!

                  2. “No I’m just a gay liberal living in like the 2nd reddest state in the country.”

                    And this therefore means that people with unpopular political views aren’t discriminated against in the marketplace?

                    It’s been a while since I was teaching logic, but I’m gonna call this one a non-sequitur.

                  3. And yet I would bet that you can still express yourself both politically and sexually without being turned into a pariah overnight, or sued into destitution. So…

                  4. No I’m just a gay liberal living in like the 2nd reddest state in the country.

                    Three and a half Pinocchios. The “liberal” part is true, but the rest of it is complete bullshit.

              3. Tony derp de derp. Derp de derpity derpy derp. Until one day, the derpa derpa derpaderp. Derp de derp da teedily dumb. From the creators of Der, and Tum Ta Tittaly Tum Ta Too, Tony is Da Derp Dee Derp Da Teetley Derpee Derpee Dumb. Rated PG-13.

      2. The sjw types never seem to acknowledge any discrimination that doesn’t specifically relate to their chosen victim groups. I’m sure that’s just coincidence

  14. “Finally, I suspect that the outcome people want but are reluctant to actually say out loud is that they don’t want people to hold these anti-gay, anti-transgender attitudes at all, and if they do, they should be forbidden from being therapists, period.”

    Ding ding ding!

    One and done, son!

  15. I’m confused…how does this relate to Trump, again?

    1. I hear more and more people have been reporting increased levels of anxiety to their therapists, due to Trump.

      Sometimes after reading SF’s Trump stories, I feel like I might need a therapist.

      There’s two connections for you. Hopefully you are less confused now.

  16. OT: Muskogee County actually pays up after IJ rides into town!

    1. Yeah, saw that the other day. Totally awesome. The corruptocrats in Muskogee County can go jump in a woodchipper.

      1. They only just got the check today – are you a time traveler???

        1. I-*burp*’m just an old scientist with a drinking problem and *burp* an inter-dimensional portal gun, ma’am.

          They got the check today but the case was resolved, I think, a day or two ago. Saw it in the P.M Links, if memory serves me right.

  17. Clearly the solution is to get every therapist “on board” of one train or the other.

    1. And we all know who else wanted to get people on trains ….

      1. The Human Centipede guy?

      2. Sir Topham Hat?

        1. I love that. Back when I was a kid, he was “The Fat Controller”. Yes. There was a “Thin Controller” too.

          My naive belief was that to the trains of Sodor, humans all looked similar.

      3. Tony?

        I seem to remember he went through a “trains are awesome” phase back around 2009…

        1. Freight railcars FTW

          /Tony

          1. For real, it was more like MOAR AMTRAK EVERYWHERE ALL THE TIME AND ALSO LESS CARS BECAUSE I DON’T LIKE THEM.

  18. I have been to the psychotherapist’s office and jail (not the state prison, mom!) a few times and in my life. I am not sure what to think of it. Psychologists bill at $250/hr here in the LA area, if that’s a clue.

    1. The anger management is a complete scam.

      1. … and you’re not gonna take it any longer!!

      2. This is false. I went on a payed retreat to Big Bear back in the ’80s with my GF to solve some of my emotional and consequent behavioral problems as young adult. In the cabin, on the lake, and at the diner, one loud-mouthed ingrate monopolized the conversation with complaints about his business partner. Even my GF, who dragged me there, asked for her money back. The ingrate did not murder anyone in our presence.

      3. Goosefraba

  19. I don’t think we’re giving enough attention to Scott’s alt-text win there.

    1. Shackford is the king of alt-text, these days.

  20. Sounds to me like we’re still getting this backwards.

    This isn’t a good law because it “protects LGBT folks from getting bad advice”. First, there’s really no reason to believe that it will do so: it might well be that that “best” advice for somebody with gender dysmorphia doesn’t involve facilitating their dysmorphia, which is the advice they would get from a therapists who is not on board with “gender transitions”. Its really not for us to say, now, is it?

    This is a good law because it allows therapists to run their practices the way they want. Period. Full Stop.

  21. And I’ve started the countdown clock for when someone will cite this article as Scott being in favor of this law.

    1. Wait until SIV and Winston wake up.

      1. SIV was in some earlier comment threads, but he might have been just getting back from an all-night cockfight.

        1. At which there were no chickens.

          1. No live ones, anyway.

          2. Don’t worry, he’s getting counseling for it.

  22. Real LGBT discrimination.

    A gay rights activist and his friend were killed Monday night in Bangladesh’s capital, Dhaka, by a group of assailants reportedly armed with machetes and guns.

    1. Fucking violent Christians at it again!

      1. The libertarian moment heard round the world.

      2. Almost as bad as North Carolina!

      3. Well in all fairness it’s easy to criticize a bunch of mostly-pacifist loudmouths rather than a bunch of people willing to kill you for drawing the wrong sort of picture. As in actually-kill-your-ass instead of you’ll-feel-triggered.

        That being said the treatment of gays and minority religions in the middle east is actually abhorrent. We’re so far down the first world problem hole I’m not even sure most people think about it anymore.

    2. Kind of OT. But does anyone else find the catchall initialism “LGBT” kind of presumptuous? Do all of those people want to be lumped together into some kind of “community”? And don’t get me started on calling every group with some shared characteristic a “community”.

      1. Apart from the political struggle, there’s nothing in common even between gay men and lesbians. And with respect to transgender people, even the political issues are unrelated.

      2. I’ve never understood why T was lumped in with the others. I get that L & G were once facing the same issues, at least in terms of state-sanctioned discrimination and societal persecution. But adding the T always struck me as a bit insulting, like saying, “Well, you engage in sex-related behaviors that deviate from the norm so therefore you are just like homosexuals,” without acknowledging that the issues trans people face have very little overlap with them.

      3. It’s because none of those groups have enough people in them for a big and scary political bloc when on their own, but together they’re able to get special rights instated just for them. The fact they have very little in common with each other that they don’t also have in common with everyone else is apparently beside the point.

        It’s as if heterosexual people don’t also have a ton of fetishes and non-normative sexual proclivities. It’s just that, for one reason or another, heterosexual people don’t seem to necessarily define themselves purely by their fetish or lack thereof. Would you find it odd if someone you just met found it necessary to tell you they really only like anal sex, and that people who just generally prefer anal sex also affect a range of social signals to illustrate that they’re ‘into it’?

        I’m just waiting for the bronies, furries, BDSM’ers, foot fetishists, GILF’s, sodomites, polygamists etc. to realize that all they need to do in order to win lots of money and special interest rights is to come ‘out of the closest’ and define themselves purely by their normative deviations instead of their commonalities even if they’re more alike than different.

  23. Important piece. And the ACLU continues as ACRU.

    1. No, the acronym is right. It stands for anti-Christian Lawyers Union.

  24. The thing is that therapists (and doctors) who deal with trans stuff are usually specialists, if for no other reason than it’s not something that comes up very often. Which makes this law superfluous at best – sort of like saying mechanics who specialize in Mercedes don’t have to work on Fords.

  25. By the way, where prostitution is legal, do prostitutes have to serve all comers?

    1. I see what you did there.

    2. Quit thinking about the logical, long term implications. They fuck up the narrative. And nice phrasing.

  26. It continues to baffle me why Reason writers have such a hard time with the idea that people should be allowed to run their businesses as they wish without government interference.

    As with the NC tranny bathroom law, this law reduces that interference (at least for now). So why do we need a screen full of chin stroking about free speech and setting aside rights of association and all that crap? Why is it so hard to just say “On balance, this looks like it gives therapists more freedom to run their practices as they want, and that’s a good thing”?

    It seems like Libertarianism 101 to me.

    1. Because true libertarians put social justice for gays before liberty. I thought you would have figured this out by now.

      1. Nobody can be free if the gays can’t be free.

        1. This law affects the freedom of gay people not one bit. If you think it does, you’ll need to explain it to me.

          Warning: “This law takes away the freedom of gay people to punish therapists they disagree with” will not be a winning argument.

          1. Well you’ll have to get Tony down here if you’re looking for a fight. I’m sure I’m not qualified to offer an argument from the point of view of a gay person.

            1. “The point of view of a gay person” is not necessary to determine if the freedom of gay people is affected.

              1. You’re a fucking moron.

    2. Because it pains Scott to no end to have to affirm people’s right to do things he doesn’t like. He can’t just come out and say it. That is just too much for him. He has to engage in hundreds of words of equivocations and “yeah but..” to make sure that whatever case he makes for people’s freedom to do things he doesn’t like is as weak as possible. There can’t be a “full stop” for him here. That would imply that people who hold views Scott finds objectionable are right and the people Scott likes are wrong. And we can’t have that.

    3. Libertarians are not the only audience for the things that I write.

      1. Must….resist….obvious….jokes!

      2. All those cocktail parties, right? 😉

      3. No, Scott. We asshole commenters are all that you should care about and are clearly the only people who matter.

  27. Just reword it and everyone will be happy.

    “Psychologists who have an implicit discriminatory bias against a patient are required by law to refer their client to a non-discriminatory psychologist better suited to the needs of the client.”

    Make it sound like a punishment and the other side will love it.

  28. Just reword it and everyone will be happy.

    “Psychologists who have an implicit discriminatory bias against a patient are required by law to refer their client to a non-discriminatory psychologist better suited to the needs of the client.”

    Make it sound like a punishment and the other side will love it.

  29. It is not at all clear to me in what way a therapist would be forced to provide therapy he or she thought was unconstructive. Was the therapist threatened with jail or something for claiming that all sexual behavior is learned, that there is no such thing as a “gay” gene? That whatever ones past, he always can choose NOT to wander into the women’s bathroom?

    I don’t see the connection here between offering therapy and compelled speech.

    1. I believe that Tennessee previously had a law that said therapists MUST treat anyone who shows up on their doorstep.

      The Tennessean notes that the reason why the state felt the need to pass this law in the first place is because Tennessee incorporates the American Counseling Association’s (ACA) ethics rules into its regulations for therapists. The ACA (which opposes this law) updated its ethics rules in 2014 to prohibit referring clients to other therapists for discriminatory reasons.

      The ACA writes their ethics guidelines, then Tennessee government incorporates that into its laws.

      1. And of course, in a near-future world where medical treatment by a qualified practitioner is the legally mandated right of all American residents, a medical practitioner will be compelled to provide the treatment that the patient demands.

        If the supply is outstripped by demand, you can bet your bippy that guys in uniforms will turn up at the clinic to ensure that the aggrieved would-be patient gets the treatment he think he deserves. This of course will make the career of psychiatry that much more appealing for college entrants, who will flock to the most respected colleges in order to gain their medical qualifications.

      2. Well, there’s your problem. Lazy-ass legislators letting someone else do their job.

        Building codes are another place where this happens, placing big, unnecessary burdens on everyone.

        1. Well, there is a decent argument for outsourcing a bit of this in the normal course of events. Outsourcing building codes are annoying, but 50+ or thousands of building codes with special rules written by the legislators would also place big, unnecessary burdens on everyone.

          Similarly, a state deciding to adopt radically different traffic signs and rules from all other states would also be annoying.

  30. And the next battle in World War T begins….

    THE WORLD MUST BE REMADE UNTIL A TINY PERCENTAGE OF PEOPLE ARE ENTIRELY COMFORTABLE, NO MATTER HOW MUCH DISCOMFORT THIS CAUSES EVERYONE ELSE.

  31. I’d bet that if a Hindu living in Oregon wanted a Jewish baker to put a swastika on their cake the baker would have to do it or be charged with a crime.

  32. Consider a patient that wants to commit suicide and wants the therapist to help, or someone who wants the therapist to help them “recover” from being gay, or something else that the therapist finds abhorrent? They should be forced to help? How about a therapist who thinks the data shows that gender transition surgery does not lead to good outcomes? Some hospitals no longer do them for this reason–should they be forced to? What about liability then? How about a person who wants the therapist to help them become an animal or an alien or a 7year old (i.e., not cure them of a delusion but help make it stronger)–can’t the therapist refuse? How about a patient who wants the therapist to cure them of the fear of dying in a suicide bombing? Can’t refuse?
    Indeed, therapy and medicine are NOT like buying tires.

    1. Yeah, that’s what I’m trying to say. Seems like a no brainer. One wouldn’t want a therapist doing kinds of therapy that they aren’t expert in or don’t believe are valid.

      1. One wouldn’t want a therapist doing kinds of therapy that they aren’t expert in or don’t believe are valid.

        It’s not about making the therapist do the work. It’s about punishing them for thoughtcrime. At least that’s what Tony wants. And as everyone who has read 1984 knows: Thoughtcrime is death. Which again is what Tony wants.

        It’s called tolerance.

  33. It protects the thorny issue of made up problems.

    This will be a pass? as a bad pop song in 1 year.

    Why can’t people realize this?

  34. Patient: “My friends all hate me”

    Therapist: “Why don’t you kill them ?”

    1. PSYCHIATRIST: “Now, about your bill…”

      PATIENT: “Don’t worry, I’ll pay my bill or my name isn’t Napoleon Bonaparte!”

  35. I’ve personally gone on record that i think the bakers should not be protected… but i completely agree with this law. (i also think those whose work involves participation should be protected… minister, photographer, etc….. just not any bigot with an otherwise public storefront who wants to be a jerk.)

    as is pointed out, therapy is one of those relationships where their personal beliefs are central to the work. a baker that doesn’t like gay marriage does not have to change the way they squirt icing, a florist does not cut the flowers any differently…. but a therapist who does not agree with transitioning, is going to have a hard time telling the patient why it is OK.

    second, therapy is not, typically, a walk in storefront, with standardized pricing and products. the frequency of meetings, topics of discussion, exercises, whatever… are all very individualized and customized for each patient. not only that, but the service they are refusing to provide, is one they would not provide to anyone…. the anti-trans therapist would not offer transition assistance to anyone. the one that does not think gayness is a disease would not offer to try and “cure” anyone. a butcher’s shop can’t be sued for not catering to vegans, just because they sell food…. they don’t sell tofu to anyone.

    it should be an unnecessary law… the patient should appreciate the feedback that they are not a match, and go to the therapist who is… but people seem to like to sue these days.

  36. Tennessee incorporates the American Counseling Association’s (ACA) ethics rules into its regulations for therapists. The ACA (which opposes this law) updated its ethics rules in 2014

    I don’t think a state can delegate lawmaking authority to a private body like that. They can incorporate their rules at the time the legislation is enacted, but not updates after that.

  37. Reading the comments, there are a lot of people that confuse the ability to refuse a *patient* with the ability to refuse a specific *treatment*.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.