ACA's Response to the Michigan Anti-Gay 'License To Condemn' Counseling Bill
ACA’s Code of Ethics expressly prohibits counselors from engaging in discrimination based on religion, and proscribes counselors from imposing their personal beliefs and values on clients. State-supported religious discrimination, as would be established by HB 5040, ignores the fact that the provision of counseling services is for the benefit of the client, not the counselor. As others have noted, HB 5040 would allow students in counseling, social work, and psychology graduate programs to refuse services on the basis of religion. Oddly, HB 5040 draws a distinction between students of counseling, psychology, and social work on the one hand, and of psychiatry, nursing, and marriage and family therapy on the other, by endorsing religious discrimination by the former group but not the latter. A client’s ability to be safe from religious discrimination would thus vary based on what type of mental health professional they saw. ACA is drafting a letter to the Michigan Senate urging opposition to the legislation, and is in touch with the Michigan Counseling Association and Eastern Michigan University about fighting the legislation.
David Kaplan, ACA Chief Professional Officer