Back in May, American Counseling Association (ACA) CEO Richard Yep announced that, due to the passage of Tennessee's anti-LGBT HB 1840/SB 1556, the ACA's 2017 convention would no longer be held in Nashville. The bill in question allows a therapist or counselor to refuse to treat clients whose "goals, outcomes, or behaviors... conflict with a sincerely held principle" of that mental health professional. The clients most likely to be refused service under the bill are LGBT clients, although anyone can be refused service for any “moral” reason provided by the therapist of counselor. This leaves clients with fewer mental health resources—and perhaps no services in an emergency situation—as well as the indignity of being refused treatment. Now the ACA has revealed its new convention location: the notably inclusive San Francisco.
After fielding bids from 13 cities, the organization announced last week that it had selected San Francisco to be its 2017 host. Noting that the organization has never had to make a decision like that before, Yep assured that “this change signals that we are committed to serving our diverse members and helping them provide the support their clients need.”
The conference is expected to bring in 4,000 members and an estimated $5 million in revenue.
That's $5 million in lost revenue for the Volunteer State. The consequences of HB 1840/SB 1556 are clear: the law not only hurts that Tennessee's citizens, it hurts the state's bottom line.