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Terrifying Republican bill would let religious doctors ‘opt out’ of treating gays

Nick Duffy February 10, 2017

A Republican bill has been filed in Texas would protect religious doctors who refuse to treat gay people.

The bill, submitted by Texas legislators Charles Perry, Bryan Hughes and  Brian Birdwell, prevents authorities that issue occupational licenses across a range of professions from taking action based on people’s “religious objections”.

It states that authorities “may not adopt any rule, regulation, or policy or impose a penalty that limits an applicant’s ability to obtain a license
based on a sincerely held religious belief of the applicant.”

The law would also protect people who not to comply with professional standards due to religious objections, which would potentially include medical professionals who refuse to treat homosexuals, or practitioners of ‘gay cure’ therapy who violate standards for psychotherapists.

ACLU counsel Eunice Hyon Min told the Texas Observer that the extreme broad wording of the bill could lead “to doctors with religious objections refusing to perform medical procedures, teachers not reporting child abuse if they support corporal punishment, or a fundamentalist Mormon police officer declining to arrest a polygamist for taking underage brides”.

The rights chief warned: “This is incredibly broadly written… it’s just really alarming. There are no limitations to this bill.”

“I think because some of the bills are receiving more attention than others, it’s a way for them to sneak some stuff through with a little bit less fanfare,” Rho said. “This is a tactic we’ve seen in countless states.”

Democratic lawmaker Celia Israel has vowed to oppose the law.

She said: “We stand ready to defend against all of them as they work their way over to the Texas House.

“My colleagues are all saying this is likely to be the most divisive session they have ever experienced.”

The Republicans last year adopted a new national party platform, containing some of the worst anti-LGBT measures seen in decades.

The platform rejects attempts to ban ‘gay cure’ therapy for minors, claiming “parents should be free to make medical decisions about their children without interference”.

(h/t Towleroad)

More: bill, doctor, Gay, LGBT, Medical, Religion, Texas

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