Skip to comments.Allegation of politics in licensing controversy (homosexual agenda alert(
Posted on 07/19/2009 4:16:25 AM PDT by stan_sipple
A state agency responsible directly to Gov. Dave Heineman held up licensing rules for professional counselors and social workers last winter, forcing licensing board members to work out compromise language related to serving homosexual clients.
The Legislature and Nebraskans have not wanted equal protection for homosexuals, Dr. Joann Schaefer said last week as she explained her insistence that the state licensing board for counselors and social workers work out a compromise with the Nebraska Catholic Conference on licensing rules.
The controversy began because sexual orientation was to be covered in a new anti-discrimination clause in proposed new rules for licensed counselors.
The compromise retained protection for sexual orientation but allowed counselors to refuse to treat and refuse to refer clients based on moral or religious convictions.
Schaefer, who is director of the Division of Public Health, sidestepped questions about whether her work on a compromise reflects her personal feelings or those of her boss, Gov. Dave Heineman.
My personal belief doesnt really matter, she said.
Instead, Schaefer said she must look at Nebraska legislation and history.
The Legislature has said the state is not going to have sexual orientation as a protected class, she said, referring to defeated legislation that would have added sexual orientation to state anti-discrimination laws.
Others at recent public hearings on the issue said politics is at work here.
The reason you are in this place is because of politics and appointees (of the governor) who wont sign off on the regulations, said Terry Werner, who represents social workers, at a board meeting this month.
Heineman declined a request for an interview on this issue, which recently expanded to the Board of Psychology and rules for psychologists.
The governor has not been fully briefed on the details, but he is aware of the policy issue presented by the Nebraska Catholic Conference as well as the two boards positions, said Jen Rae Hein, aide to Heineman.
Should the regulations reach his desk, he will make a decision at that time, Hein said.
This (refusing to provide homosexuals equal protection) has been the direction of the state. It is not anything new, said Schaefer in a telephone interview last week.
We are trying to find a compromise, said Schaefer, who as head of the Division of Public Health, must approve the regulations. They also must be approved by the attorney general and Heineman.
The issue emerged a year ago when the Nebraska Catholic Conference and some conservative Protestant religious organizations objected to the new provision providing protection for homosexuals in the proposed regulations for licensed counselors and suggested a compromise.
After the new regulations were delayed for months at HHS, the Mental Health Board in March agreed to compromise.
They were stopped dead in the water, said Mental Health Board chairman John Danforth about the hold up at HHS.
But this month the board backed away from that compromise language after representatives of professional counseling and social work organizations said allowing counselors to refuse to refer clients violates ethics codes of national organizations.
The Board of Psychology, which licenses and disciplines psychologists, is facing the same dilemma.
That board on Friday unanimously approved new rules that do not include the compromise language requested by the Catholic Conference.
Psychologist licensing rules have included sexual orientation in the anti-discrimination clause since 1992, so this is not new, said board president David Carver.
And no state has a conscience clause exemption for psychologists, he said.
The rules must go to Schaefer for approval.
This is a tough one, Schaefer acknowledged. People are very passionate on every side of the issue.
Those who want a conscience clause are not refusing to treat people for issues like depression, she said. But they are asking for an option when they find a specific service, like same-sex marriage counseling, morally objectionable, she said.
It is a tough thing. No one is trying to railroad everything through. And everyone is being respectful of people's beliefs, she said.
> The compromise retained protection for sexual orientation but allowed counselors to refuse to treat and refuse to refer clients based on moral or religious convictions.
In my view, that is unethical and immoral and unconscionable. If a homosexualist seeks treatment he/she should be treated.
a thinly veiled threat to silence medical professionals who object to homosexuality. First you force them to treat homosexuals, fine. Then you forbid them to publicly state their opposition to homosexuality because their views would conflict with treatment standards.
“Another outright lie.”
You are correct. There isn’t anything respectful about it. It is about pushing their agenda. My real problem with the whole Gay and Lesbian thing is this: They want to force people to say their lifestyle is “normal” and “good”. If you want to live that way - go ahead, I am not going to stop you. All I ask is you don’t push your lifestyle on my children, and I be allowed to follow my own conscience and religion in believing and saying your lifestyle is sinful and immoral. They don’t seem willing to go along with that. In their world, I’m a bigot and I must be punished.-—JM
Surely they should only be able to stop them publically stating their opposition in their professional capacity.
Right so there would be no professional opinion against homosexuality sort of like Al gore imagines with global warming
That’s different. He’s a politician. His job is to give opinions.
Suppose you are against abortion. You can voice that opinion as much as any other citizen, but if you sign your petitions as Doctor John Smith, of Saviors Hospital, then you are using your association as a Doctor and (more importantly) as part of the staff of the hospital to reinforce the validity of your stance. Your professional status isn’t a gag, but neither is it a loudspeaker.
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