Citing opposition from a "very vocal group of folks in America," state Representative John DeBerry of Memphis has tabled HBO566, which would have allowed student counselors at public institutions to refuse to offer mental health services to clients for reasons of religious belief. DeBerry added that he had "been here long enough to know when a piece of legislation is not going to move."
Dubbed the "Mini-Indy" bill by its opponents, the bill "prohibits public institutions of higher education from disciplining or discriminating against a student in a counseling, social work, or psychology program because the student refuses to counsel or serve a client as to goals, outcomes, or behaviors that conflict with a sincerely held religious belief of the student."
It's a blow to the Tennessee Legislature, which is obviously trying hard to keep up with the homophobes in Indiana, Arkansas, and elsewhere. DeBerry's bill also demonstrates that stupidity and mindless bigotry is not limited to one party or race.
I hope his constituents in Memphis are monitoring this foolishness. I know I am. Here's his office email link if you'd like to let DeBerry know how you feel.