The American Counseling Association has canceled plans to hold its annual conference in Nashville over the state’s recent passage of a law allowing therapists to turn away gay clients based on religious beliefs.
Richard Yep, Chief Executive Officer of the American Counseling Association ripped the new law in a video (top) calling it “the worst” legislation he’s ever seen.
The group made the announcement in a press release
Tennessee became the latest state to sign into law discriminatory “religious freedom” legislation targeting the counseling profession and LGBTQ community, permitting counselors to deny services and refer clients based on the provider’s “strongly held principles” a clear violation of the American Counseling Association’s Code of Ethics.
In light of the passage of SB1556/HB1840, ACA members have been very vocal about their opinions on the location of the 2017 Conference & Expo, originally scheduled for Nashville, Tenn. After careful consideration, and taking those comments into account, ACA has decided that the 2017 annual meeting will not be held in Tennessee.
“This was not an easy decision to make,” said Richard Yep, CEO of ACA. “After thoughtful discussion, the ACA Governing Council made the difficult—and courageous—decision on behalf of our membership. Of all the state legislation I have seen passed in my 30 years with ACA, the new Tennessee law based on Senate Bill 1556/House Bill 1840 is by far the worst. This 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. 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.”
ACA pledged to work with the counselors and citizens of Tennessee to raise awareness of the danger of this new law.
Yep added, “We 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.
“No matter where we hold our 2017 Conference, ACA will continue to advocate on behalf of counselors and the diverse populations that they serve,” Yep stated.
ACA is currently seeking proposals from cities that can accommodate its space requirements and housing needs. More information on the location of the 2017 Conference & Expo will be released as it becomes available.