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LGBT people could be erased from anti-discrimination rules in Nebraska

Anti-LGBT politics could make Nebraska the only state where sexual orientation isn’t mention in anti-discrimination codes for licensed psychologists.

The state Board of Psychology and the Board of Mental Health Practice may be forced to abandon the fight for the inclusion of sexual orientation and gender identity in anti-discrimination licensing rules in order to get any new rules approved by the state government.

Republican Governor Pete Ricketts removed any reference to LGBT language in the mental health practitioner rules and rejected the proposed rules from both organisations in February.

Changes in licensing rule help mental health professionals stay current with changing practices and technological developments.

They are also needed by psychologists to help recruit graduate students.

Both boards want to require professionals to make informed and thoughtful referrals when the counsellor or psychologist does not want to or cannot provide counselling related to these issues.

The Nebraska Catholic Conference object to the referral language because they say it forces counsellors to be complicit in conduct they morally object to.

The boards have been at odds with the administrations of two governors and the Conference for more than a decade over the inclusion of sexual orientation and gender identity language in their licensing rules.

At public hearings in 2008 the Conference wanted language that allows counsellors with moral objections to give the client a list rather than a more thoughtful referral.

Health and Human Service administrators under Gov. Ricketts and former Gov. Dave Heineman have consistently refused the approval of the anti-discrimination language.

The American Psychological Association (APA) Ethical Principles of Psychologist and Code of Conduct protects against discrimination due to sexual orientation or gender identity.

Earlier this month state legislators began debating a bill that would extend discrimination protections based on gender identity or sexual orientation.

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