(The Federalist) -- Religious freedom issues have found their way into the headlines quite a lot lately, and the news is nearly always bad. “Gov. Mike Pence signs ‘religious freedom’ bill in private” quickly followed by “Gov. Mike Pence signs RFRA fix.” “Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoes Senate Bill 1062.” “Nathan Deal vetoes Georgia’s ‘religious liberty’ bill.” “How the Atlanta Fire Chief’s Christian Views Cost Him His Job.” “‘Sweet Cakes’ Owners’ Bank Accounts Seized as Damages for Refusing to Bake Wedding Cake for Lesbian Couple.”
Victories for the religious conscience are few and far between. A lot has happened since Hobby Lobby v. Burwell, the Supreme Court decision that protects Hobby Lobby from having to pay for employee birth control and abortifacients.
In such an atmosphere, Tennessee’s House Bill 1840 comes as a breath of fresh air. Signed by Gov. Bill Haslam this past Wednesday, the new law protects counselors who want to practice without violating their consciences. It stipulates that counselors can refuse services to a client if they feel providing services will violate their sincerely held beliefs.
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