Tennessee Counselors Will Now Be Able to Tell LGBTQ Children and Teens They Will Not Help Them
Tennessee Republican Governor Bill Haslam has just signed into law HB 1840, a bill that allows counselors, therapists, and mental health professionals to refuse service to LGBT people, atheists, divorced people, literally anyone, merely by claiming their “sincerely held religious beliefs” allow them to.
Technically, the counselor must refer the patient to another counselor, but given that one quarter of Tennessee residents live in rural areas, LGBTQ youth and teens who are especially vulnerable, and unable to travel without their parents, will be at higher risk of possible self-harm.
BREAKING: Tennessee gov signs bill allowing counselors to refuse treatment based on religious beliefs.
â€” The Associated Press (@AP) April 27, 2016
“After working with allies the entire legislative session, especially the American Counseling Association and many counselors in Tennessee, to defeat the HB1840, we had hoped for a veto,” Chris Sanders, Executive DirectorÂ of the Tennessee Equality Project said in a statement. “We know the Governor carefully considered his decision, but the reality we now face is that counselors will be able to discriminate against clients based on the counselorâ€™s principles. We continue to worry particularly about rural LGBT people who may not have adequate resources for counseling in their communities.”
UPDATE I: 5:37 PM EDT â€“
â€œI believe it is reasonable to allow these professionals to determine if and when an individual would be better served by another counselor better suited to meet his or her needs,â€ Gov. Haslam said in a statement, according to Buzzfeed.
â€œThe substance of this bill doesnâ€™t address a group, issue or belief system,â€ he added. â€œRather, it allows counselors â€“ just as we allow other professionals like doctors and lawyers â€“ to refer a client to another counselor when the goals or behaviors would violate a sincerely held principle.â€
UPDATE II: 5:44 PM EDTÂ â€“
Reese Withspoon last week posted this tweet:
â€” Reese Witherspoon (@RWitherspoon) April 20, 2016
â€” reported.ly (@reportedly) April 27, 2016
You know the drill, folks. Boycott Tennessee. #HB1840
â€” SocialJusticeWestie (@EyesOnTheRight) April 27, 2016
Religious freedom bills
â€” reported.ly (@reportedly) April 27, 2016
As someone who would probably be dead right now if it weren’t for queer friendly mental health care, I’m ashamed of TN today. #HB1840
â€” Amber Stewart (@amberstewart11) April 27, 2016
Tennessee another state I use to love, #HB1840
â€” Brent Petit (@brent10000) April 27, 2016
UPDATE III: 5:52 PM EDT â€“
Via Chicago Tribune:
“I’ve been through a pretty exhaustive process of talking to a lot of counselors, both those who think it’s needed and those who don’t,” Republican Gov.Â Bill HaslamÂ told The Associated Press.Â
This is a breaking news and developing story. Details may change. This story will be updated, and NCRM will likely publish follow-up stories on this news. Stay tuned and refresh for updates.Â
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GOP Gov. Kristi Noem Won’t Make Kids Wear Masks in Schools But She Is Trying to Make Them Pray
South Dakota’s Republican Governor Kristi Noem refuses to mandate masks for schoolchildren and teachers but she’s trying to make students pray in public. Gov. Noem, who is widely expected to run for president in 2024, has let the coronavirus run rampant in her state of just 886,667 people – a population so small New York City’s is ten times larger. And yet coronavirus is running rampant in South Dakota, which ranks number eight in the nation for coronavirus cases per capita.
Governor Noem just made clear she does not see herself as a government or political leader, but as a religious one. Speaking to Real America’s Voice personality David Brody, Noem declared she will bring back prayer in schools (even though voluntary prayer has always been legal) and thinks political leaders are supposed to “minister” to their constituents.
Complaining that the actions other government leaders are taking “are not biblical,” Noem says they are supposed to “line up with God,” which is false.
“I think that it’s really time for all of us to look at the actions of our leaders and see if they line up with the word of God,” Noem said, “see if they’re biblical and if they really are following through on those actions that God’s called us to do to protect people, to serve people, and to really minister to them.”
Protecting, serving, and ministering – but not in the fight against the deadly pandemic.
“We’ve seen our society, our culture, degrade, as we’ve removed God out of our lives, and people become what they spend their time doing,” Noem declared. “When I was growing up, we spent every Sunday morning, every night, every Wednesday night in church, we were our church, family was a part of our life, we read the Bible every day as a family together, and spent time with each other, recognizing that we were created to serve others.”
Again, Noem makes clear she does not believe serving and protecting others has anything to do with COVID-19.
“I don’t know families do that as much anymore and those biblical values are learned, in the family, And they’re learned in church when the doors are open so people can be there and be taught.”
“We in South Dakota, have decided to take action to really stand for biblical principles. We had a bill that was passed during legislative session two years ago that put the the motto ‘In God We Trust’ in every single school building it is displayed. Now in every K-12 school building in the state of South Dakota.
“I have legislation that we’ll be proposing this year that will allow us to pray in schools, again, I really believe that focusing on those foundational biblical principles that teach us that every life has value every person has a purpose will recenter our kids and help us really heal this division that we see taking over our country.”
MSNBC’s Steve Benen notes, “given that the United States is a democracy, and not a theocracy, officials’ actions are supposed to line up with the Constitution and the rule of law, not how some people interpret scripture.”
“What the governor seemed to be suggesting, however, isn’t a system in which students pray on their own,” he adds, “but one in which school officials intervene in children’s religious lives. In the United States, that’s not legal: As my friends at Americans United for Separation of Church and State recently explained, ‘The South Dakota Supreme Court struck down mandatory recitation of the Lord’s Prayer in the state’s public schools in 1929. The U.S. Supreme Court invalidated school-sponsored prayer and Bible reading in public schools in 1962 and ’63.'”
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem says the positions taken by political leaders must "line up with the word of God" and brags about pushing for prayer in public schools. pic.twitter.com/DRd2MJaKZw
— Right Wing Watch (@RightWingWatch) September 17, 2021
Architect of Texas Abortion Ban Also Criticized ‘Court-Invented Rights to Homosexual Behavior and Same-Sex Marriage’
The architect of what is now Texas law, Governor Greg Abbott‘s “heartbeat” legislation that bans all abortion after six weeks, attacked the constitutional rights of same-sex couples to marriage, and sex between persons of the same sex, in a brief filed with the U.S. Supreme Court this past summer. In that brief he also called same-sex marriage a “judicial concoction,” and argued that women should merely abstain from sexual intercourse as a method to “control their reproductive lives.”
Former Texas solicitor general and Federalist Society member Jonathan Mitchell, The Guardian reports, “who played a pivotal role in designing the legal framework of the state’s near-total abortion ban, also argued on behalf of anti-abortion group Texas Right to Life that women would still be able to terminate pregnancies if Roe was overturned by traveling to ‘wealthy pro-abortion’ states like California and New York with the help of ‘taxpayer subsidies.'”
“Women can ‘control their reproductive lives’ without access to abortion; they can do so by refraining from sexual intercourse,” Mitchell wrote in the brief. “One can imagine a scenario in which a woman has chosen to engage in unprotected (or insufficiently protected) sexual intercourse on the assumption that an abortion will be available to her later. But when this court announces the overruling of Roe, that individual can simply change their behavior in response to the court’s decision if she no longer wants to take the risk of an unwanted pregnancy.”
“In the same brief, which calls for Roe to be overturned,” The Guardian adds, “Mitchell and co-counsel Adam Mortara, an anti-abortion activist and lawyer who clerked for the supreme court justice Clarence Thomas, said such a decision could open the door for other ‘lawless’ rights and protections to be reversed, including the right to have gay sex and the right to same-sex marriage.”
In their July, 2021 Supreme Court amicus brief, Mitchell and Mortara also call “interracial marriage” one of several “supposed constitutional ‘rights’ that have no basis in constitutional text or historical practice.” Among them, “court-imposed ‘substantive due process’ rights whose textual and historical provenance are equally dubious.”
On same-sex marriage and sex their opinion was devastatingly ruthless.
“The news is not as good for those who hope to preserve the court-invented rights to homosexual behavior and same-sex marriage,” the amicus brief reads. “These ‘rights,’ like the right to abortion from Roe, are judicial concoctions, and there is no other source of law that can be invoked to salvage their existence.”
Texas Lt. Gov. Warns Dems Are Allowing in Immigrants for ‘Silent Revolution’ – Mirroring Language of Far-Right Extremists
“Dan Patrick warns Democrats are allowing in immigrants for “silent revolution,” mirroring language of far-right extremists” was first published by The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.
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Denouncing the thousands of Haitian asylum-seekers who are camped out under a South Texas bridge as an “invasion,” Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick accused Democrats of allowing their entry into the country for political gain.
“[Democrats] are allowing this year probably 2 million [immigrants], that’s who we apprehended, maybe another million, into this country,” Patrick said on Laura Ingraham’s Fox News show. “At least in 18 years even if they all don’t become citizens before then and can vote, in 18 years if every one of them has two or three children, you’re talking about millions and millions and millions of new voters and they will thank the Democrats and Biden for bringing them here. Who do you think they’re going to vote for?”
He said President Joe Biden and Democrats had begun a “silent revolution” to take over the country by winning over the votes of migrants.
“This is trying to take over our country without firing a shot,” he added.
Patrick’s rhetoric mirrors a far-right theory started in France known as the Great Replacement, which says that elites are replacing white populations with nonwhite populations through mass migration and demographic growth. These writings influenced the worst mass shooting of Hispanics in recent U.S. history in El Paso in 2019. The shooter, who killed 23 people and injured 23 others, ranted about a Hispanic invasion and told police he came to the city to kill Mexicans.
Patrick has repeatedly called the increase of migrants at the border an “invasion” throughout the year.
State Rep. Chris Turner, D-Grand Prairie, who leads the House Democratic Caucus said blasted Patrick for his comments.
“These comments are not only vile, they are incendiary and dangerous,” Turner said on Twitter. “Leaders have a responsibility to not incite with their words & actions – Patrick fails that test, again.”
Patrick, a two-term Republican, was responding on Thursday to the thousands of asylum-seeking migrants — most of them from Haiti — who are waiting under an international bridge in Del Rio. The Caribbean country experienced a 7.2 magnitude earthquake last month that destroyed thousands of homes.
State and federal government butted heads on how to handle the migrants’ arrival, with Gov. Greg Abbott backpedaling on an order to close the ports of entry after U.S. Customs and Border Protection said the agency had not asked the state to do so. Abbott has blamed the Biden administration for the increase of migrants on the border this year.
Patrick told Ingraham the state received a “call for help” from U.S. Border Patrol, which led Abbott to order the closure of the ports of entry. A Customs and Border Protection spokesperson said the agency had no information on Abbott’s decision to close the ports.
“Then we found out that Border Patrol did not have permission from Homeland Security or the president, and so they came out and said ‘No, we didn’t say we needed any help. We didn’t say that,'” Patrick said. “Someone in the administration flip-flopped on the issue, Texas did not take a back step.”
Patrick urged Republican-led states to tell the White House they were being “invaded,” adding that Democrat-led states did not care.
“This is not authorized by the state of Texas,” he said. “It’s not welcome by the state of Texas or any other Republican state that I know and they’re not invited.”
Patrick invoked Article IV of the Constitution, which guarantees states protection from invasion.
“What’s a republican form of government? It’s defined as a government that focuses on citizens running their government,” he said. “We now will have illegals in this country denying citizens the right to run our government. Because our government, our representatives that we elect, can’t even stop them from coming.”
“This is denying us our government that’s run by our citizens with illegals who are here who are going to take our education, our health care, all [of it],” he said. “This is selling out our country.”
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This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at https://www.texastribune.org/2021/09/17/texas-dan-patrick-immigrants-democrats-haitians/.
The Texas Tribune is a member-supported, nonpartisan newsroom informing and engaging Texans on state politics and policy. Learn more at texastribune.org.
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