Un projet de loi dans le Tennessee pour autoriser les psychologues à refuser leurs services pour « raisons religieuses »

Un projet de loi dans le Tennessee pour autoriser les psychologues à refuser leurs services pour « raisons religieuses »

>> Tennessee bill would allow counselors to deny service based on religion

Le Sénat de l’État du Tennessee aux États-Unis vient de voter ce mercredi un projet de loi pour permettre aux psychologues et autres professionnels de la santé mentale à refuser de soigner des patients en fonction de leurs convictions ou croyances. Hormis s'ils sont en danger imminent ou dangereux pour leur entourage.

Actuellement en débat à la Chambre des représentants locale, si elle est définitivement promulguée, cette loi légaliserait « les discriminations envers les homosexuels, bisexuels ou transgenres », déjà vulnérables, a souligné Art Terrazas, directeur des affaires gouvernementales de l’American Counseling Association. Comme d'autres ONG, il exhorte le gouverneur de l'état, le républicain Bill Haslam, à y faire obstacle. Ce dernier n'a pour le moment rien décidé mais assure dans la presse avoir pleinement conscience des risques pour l'état et ses citoyens.

Cette nouvelle mesure s’inscrit bien évidemment dans une vague de projets initiés par les législateurs chrétiens et conservateurs, en colère depuis la légalisation par la Cour suprême du mariage pour tous en juin 2015.

En début de semaine, la firme de paiement en ligne PayPal a annoncé l'abandon d'un projet d'investissements de quelque 3,6 millions de dollars en Caroline du Nord, suite à l'adoption d'une loi similaire. Le groupe prévoyait de bâtir un centre opérationnel mondial mais cette « nouvelle loi enfreint les valeurs et les principes se trouvant au cœur de la mission et de la culture de Paypal », a commenté Dan Schulman, PDG du groupe, qui a également adressé, avec d’autres dirigeants de grandes entreprises, une lettre ouverte de protestation au gouverneur de l'état Pat McCrory.

Valentine Monceau
stophomophobie.org

>> The Tennessee House passed a bill on Wednesday allowing mental health counselors to refuse service to patients on religious grounds, the latest in a list of U.S. state measures that gay rights activists have criticized as discriminating against the LGBT community.

A vote by the state House of Representatives protects therapists and counselors from civil lawsuits and criminal action if they deny services to clients whose religious beliefs conflict with their own.

The bill passed by a 68-22 vote and sent to Gov. Bill Haslam for his signature. The state Senate passed the bill earlier this year.

If it is signed into law, Tennessee would be the only state to allow counselors to refuse to treat patients based on their own belief system, said Art Terrazas, Director of Government Affairs for the American Counseling Association. The organization has called the bill an "unprecedented attack" on the counseling profession and government overreach.

Supporters of the bill say it protects the rights of counselors who object on religious grounds to the adopted code of ethics of the American Counseling Association. But opponents say it is an attempt to deny service to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, a vulnerable population often in need of counseling services.

The House bill, which was sponsored by Republican Rep. Dan Howell, is one of many that are being challenged by human rights organizations claiming the legislation is anti-LGBT.

Howell was unavailable for comment Wednesday afternoon.

The Tennessee Equality Project, which supports gay rights, condemned the House passage of the bill even though it does not specifically refer to the LGBT issue. The group called on the governor to veto the legislation.

Haslam told Nashville Public Radio he has not decided whether to sign or veto the counseling legislation, but he was considering the impact it may have on the state and its citizens.

"They (state lawmakers) need to obviously always vote their conscience," he told the radio station. "One of the things, though, that we should be mindful of is, is there a broader impact?"

On Tuesday, PayPal Holdings Inc canceled plans to open a global operations center in Charlotte, North Carolina and invest $3.6 million in the area after the state passed a law requiring people to use bathrooms or locker rooms in schools and other public facilities that match the gender on their birth certificate rather than their gender identity.

Tennessee is considering similar legislation related to school bathrooms, and civil rights groups are watching a Missouri measure seen as discriminatory. Last week, the governors of Georgia and Virginia vetoed "religious liberty" bills.

Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant on Tuesday signed a far-reaching law allowing people with religious objections to deny wedding services to same-sex couples and protecting other actions considered discriminatory by gay rights activists.