Monday, March 28, 2016

APA Applauds Ga. Governor's Decision to Veto Controversial 'Religious Freedom' Bill

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal (left) announced earlier today that he will veto House Bill 757, a controversial "religious freedom" bill that APA criticized for permitting sexual- and gender identity-based discrimination.

“The American Psychiatric Association applauds Gov. Nathan Deal’s pledge to veto HB 757, which would have opened the door to state-sanctioned discrimination of LGBTQ people,” said APA CEO and Medical Director Saul Levin, M.D., M.P.A., in a press statement. “APA spoke out against the bill, and we are glad that our voice was heard. Gov. Deal was correct when he said the bill does not fit into the character of the state, a welcoming state with friendly people.”

On March 23, APA President Renée Binder, M.D., and Levin sent a letter to Gov. Deal urging the veto, noting that all forms of discrimination, whether societal, religious, or family stigma, may adversely affect the mental health of individuals and necessitate intervention.

“APA has long opposed discrimination against individuals in the LGBTQ community, whether that discrimination occurs in accessing health care services, education, employment, government services, housing, military service, or spousal rights,” Binder and Levin wrote.

In addition to sending the letter, APA joined Georgia Prospers, a coalition of more than 500 businesses opposed to HB 757.

For related information on the mental health implications of discrimination against individuals from sexual or gender minority groups, see the Psychiatric Services article "Severe Mental Illness in LGBT Populations: A Scoping Review."


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