GOP lawmakers in Texas have introduced an anti-LGBT “religious freedom” bill that could see “ex-gay” therapists keep their licenses even if the practice is banned by the state.
Filed last week by three Republican legislators, Senate Bill 651 would prohibit Texas state agencies responsible for regulating over 65 licensed occupations from taking action against those who do not comply with professional standards due to “religious objections”.
Already five states and many cities have banned reparative therapy for minors. But although Texas is not likely to follow suit soon, SB 651 could have considerable consequences for other professions. According to Eunice Hyon Min Rho, advocacy and policy counsel for the ACLU, the bill could lead to discrimination from anyone licensed by the state.
“This is incredibly broadly written,” Rho told the Texas Observer. “It’s just really alarming. There are no limitations to this bill.”
On the other side of the coin, “ex-homosexual” and reparative therapist David Pickup told the magazine that SB 651 would be “a good step in the right direction.”
“For those therapists who are religious, certainly it would apply,” he said. “There are a lot of therapists that have very sincerely held religious beliefs.”