HRC is interested in talking about what they
think is important and where they
feel they have made some sort of headway.
After going to their website yesterday and seeing the post about how WELL they're doing with DHHS and HUD, I sat here so stunned and shocked..
I guess the fact that Nebraska's DHHS (and HUD to an extent) have been ignoring the Catholic Church's attempt to make gay discrimination acceptable (some say "required") and that the DHHS has sat back and allowed the Catholic Church to push through homophobic licensing regulations for mental health therapists/psychologists/psychiatrists, is a GOOD thing to the HRC?
Admittedly, recently, the DHHS seems to have taken a step back away from the homophobes but it's hard to tell since they've been busy having "private meetings" with the CC (legality here?? I doubt it) and no one is really sure WHAT they're doing...we're only sure about the political pressure which the Catholic Church is putting on everyone and their dog in regards to the issue (in NE the CC has a lot of political clout).
Is HRC so busy with their own little agenda that they forget not everyone LIVES in DC, NYC, SF and LA.
Well for those of us GLBT people living in states where it's legal to fire us (that would be over 30 states for sexual orientation and 38 states where you can fire folks for a gender identity issue), terminate our rental agreements, refuse us even the most BASIC of civils rights....
Marriage?? WE just wanna be able to keep our job after the "whispers" start! Once we can keep our jobs and keep our homes THEN we'll talk about marriage because right now gay marriage seems like a ploy to trap us into doing something that PROVES we're gay so that our employers can fire us!
(which btw has happened... I personally know a lesbian woman who had just married her partner in Iowa then went into where she worked and asked for her partners benefits - OOPS -
See, she lived on the border of two states, living in one and married in that state, she made the mistake of going into her job, which was two miles away from where she lived but inside the border of another state - a state which allows the firing of gay people solely on the basis of their sexual orientation - now after 23 years of a good work history (not missing one day of work!), she is fired, no benefits, just unemployed AND she is on record as being homosexual to boot!
Disclaimer: I am NOT against gay marriage what-so-ever, I am just pointing out that in this federal democracy, we have many states with many different and opposing laws in regards to glbt rights.
HRC needs to do more research on the people they're talking to!
This is an article from the Nebraska Psychological Associations Newsletter and please notice how the DHHS sat back until VERY recently and allowed the CC to pursue and PASS licensing regs within the NPA that would make it very hard for gay people to get help with mental health issues (and a host of OTHER issues as well). The Regs were recently withdrawn but the CC is threatening the NPA with numerous "consequences" if the regulation is not REadopted...
An Attempt to Establish Discrimination in Licensing Code of Ethics Continues by James K Cole, Ph.D
In the NPA July newsletter I reported on an attempt by the National Catholic Conference to introduce a regulation change to the Psychology Licensing Board that would endorse the right of psychologists to discriminate against clients by refusing psychological services, or even referrals for services, based on a claim by providers of a superior religious or moral conviction. The proposal, misleadingly labeled a "conscience conviction" policy, focuses primarily on excluding gay clients from receiving behavioral health services, but also, as stated in the CC letter to DHHS, it would potentially prevent needed behavioral services to clients based on a client's religion and sexual identity as well as a host of other classes of individuals judged to be living in sin. It opens Pandoras box to a morally preverted regulation that fundamentally alters the core reason for our Code of Ethics: Do no harm. This proposal is unique to Nebraska. According to the APA Practice Directorate there is nothing remotely like it in another other state in the United Sates of Canada.
The good news is that the licensing regulations can only be written by licensing boards. The bad news is that the DHHS, state attorneys, the Board of Health and the Governor must approve proposed regulations before they become a part of the existing licensing regulations. What the "political powers" can do is prevent other proposed regulations needed to improve current licensing regulations from being processed through the state system. In effect the has been a persistent attempt to coerce the Licensing Board to accept the CC discrimination proposal by refusing to pass the needed regulations on to the Board of Health. CC has obvious political clout in Nebraska.
On July 10, I planned to present testimony to the LMHP licensing board (The Board of Mental Health Practice) opposing the CC proposal (apparently they never actually reviewed it), trusting instead the DHHS, had previously voted to accept the CC proposal. Unfortunately I had a seizure caused by cancer cells to the brain and was unable to appear before the Board. Fortunately, the CEO for Nebraska Social Work read my paper to the Board. While hospitalized waiting for a craniotomy, a Board member called me at the hospital and said the Board agreed "100%" with my argument and consequently voted to reverse their decision to accept the CC proposal.
This means the LMHP Board is united with the Psychology Board in refusing to accept the CC proposal. At their last board meeting I was able to meet with them to think them for the courage they showed in changing their position.
There have been about six individual private (was this legal?) and public meetings between the CC representatives and the Psychology Licensing Board or representatives of the Board. In all meetings DHHS attempted to encourage a compromise or solution. CC has continued in all meetings to insist that their proposal be accepted. The Board of Psychology has consistently resisted any change in our Code of Ethics that involves discrimination. You should be proud of the arguments made by the Chair of the Licensing Board and other members of the Board in resisting this morally corrupt proposal.
In a bit of good news, Dr. Joann Schaefer, the chief negotiator for DHHS, recently presented the following proposed discrimination statement (Note words in bold added by Dr. Carver and S. Sumrall):
Credential holders must provide professional assistance to patients/clients without discrimination on the basis of race, age, ethnicity, culture, language, socioeconomic status, disability, gender, gender identity, health status, religion, national origin, or sexual orientation. If the practitioner is unable to provide such services for any reason, the credential holder must refer to an appropriate provider based on the behavioral needs of the clients/patients, or direct such patients/clients to an appropriate behavioral health professional association."
Not unexpectedly CC refused to accept this statement, but for the first time Dr. Schaefer appears to agree with the Board's position. (She may have privately agreed all along.) The bad news is that she apparently continues to be pressured by the politically powerful to accommodate the Catholic Conference proposal or some version of it. Consequently the above anti-discrimination statement is moot. As of the writing of this article there has been no movement in actually resolving this attempt to pervert our Code of Ethics.
My question is: What statutory authority gives a religious lobbyist or organization, or any private interest organization, authority to advance or prevent from advancing licensing regulations proposed by licensing boards?
Finally, it appears to me that further delay on behalf of the CC proposal represents a potential restraint of trade issue: the right of licensed psychologists to practice consistent with licensing regulations and the Code of Ethics.
To quote Mr. Welch's statement to Senator McCarthy at the June 1954 hearings: "You've done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you no sense of decency?"
James K. Cole, Ph.D
Apparently the CC has no sense of decency ..not in Nebraska but this is the same state where the Bishop of the Lincoln, NE diocese (Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz) had all of the members of the Call to Action group excommunicated (the only place in the USA that did so - and yes, the Call to Action organization exists coast to coast).
NE ...it's harsh out here ..and I ain't talking about only the weather.
Thanks for listening!