Tennessee’s new anti-LGBTQ law just cost it over $5 million

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After a nationwide search, an organization that represents counselors in the U.S. and 50 other countries has chosen San Francisco for its annual convention, which had been planned for Nashville next year. The American Counseling Association changed those plans last month, after Tennessee enacted the nation’s most sweeping law infringing upon the mental health of queer people.

“Of all the state legislation I have seen passed in my 30 years with ACA, the new Tennessee law based on Senate Bill 1556/House Bill 1840 is by far the worst. This law directly targets the counseling profession, would deny services to those most in need, and constitutes a dilemma for ACA members because it allows for violation of ACA’s Code of Ethics,” CEO Richard Yep announced.

“By relocating from Tennessee, ACA is standing up to this discriminatory law and we remain committed in the battle to ensure that this law does not become the national standard.”

After reviewing 13 cities as alternatives, the ACA chose the “inclusive and inviting city” of San Francisco, reported the San Francisco Business Times.

The 2017 conference is expected to bring in 4,000 members and an estimated $5 million in revenue, according to ThinkProgress.

Yep noted in his announcement that the ACA has never before had to make a change such as this, one that he said “signals that we are committed to serving our diverse members and helping them provide the support their clients need.”

Two LGBTQ rights activists filed a lawsuit earlier this month to overturn the law. Bleu Copas, who was discharged from the Army under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and Caleb Laieski, an activist from Virginia, claim the new law targets gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people and violates their right to equal treatment guaranteed by the Tennessee state and U.S. Constitution.

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