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Man files lawsuit challenging Tennessee counseling law

Associated Press • Updated Nov 15, 2017 at 4:20 PM

NASHVILLE — A gay rights activist has filed a federal lawsuit challenging a Tennessee law that allows therapists to refuse clients based on personal beliefs.

The Tennessean reports the lawsuit was filed against Gov. Bill Haslam this week arguing the law violates the U.S. Constitution. Plaintiff Bleu Copas had also filed a similar lawsuit last year in an Anderson County court.

Haslam signed the law in 2016. In it, counselors can turn clients away if their “goals, outcomes or behaviors” conflict with the counselor’s “sincerely held principles.”

The lawsuit says the law represents “an actual and imminent threat of discrimination” to Copas and others in Tennessee.

Haslam’s spokeswoman, Jennifer Donnals, said on Tuesday she was not aware of the lawsuit. She also said the governor’s office does not comment on pending litigation.

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