June is LGBT Pride Month. While great strides have been made in LGBT rights, some states have passed laws that negatively impact that progress.
In April, NASW posted a statement on Social Work Blog, denouncing the legislative actions by Mississippi, North Carolina and Tennessee to deny equal treatment of LGBT individuals and families.
“NASW believes that these laws, passed under the guise of ‘religious freedom’ or to ‘protect children,’ must be vetoed or repealed,” the blog states. “Taken separately or collectively, all three laws are objectionable and are an affront to the progress we have made toward protecting the civil and human rights of all Americans.”
In Mississippi, H.B. 1523 aims to protect anyone from discrimination claims who believes that marriage is between one man and one woman, that sexual relations are reserved solely for marriage, and that the terms male and female pertain only to a person’s genetics and anatomy at birth.
The North Carolina Facilities Privacy and Security Act requires schools and public agencies to have gender-segregated bathrooms and to prevent people from using a bathroom that doesn’t correspond to their biological sex.
Further, the law states individuals cannot bring any civil action based upon the state’s employment or public accommodation nondiscrimination protections.
In May, the U.S. Department of Justice filed suit stating the measure is discriminatory and violates civil rights. U.S. Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch held a news conference after the Justice Department’s lawsuit was filed.
“This is about the dignity and respect we accord our fellow citizens and the laws that we, as a people and as a country, have enacted to protect them,” she said.
The Tennessee anti-LGBT law declares that no person providing counseling or therapy services in private practice shall be required to counsel or serve a client as to goals, outcomes, or behaviors that conflict with a sincerely held religious belief of the counselor or therapist.
NASW has joined allied mental health provider groups to voice concern that such laws violate their professions’ policies and the NASW Code of Ethics.
“NASW believes that discrimination and prejudice directed against any group is damaging to the social, emotional, and economic well-being of the affected group and of society as a whole,” the blog states.
Get more information on NASW diversity and LGBT issues.