Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Veteran Has Standing to Challenge Therapist Bill As Establishment Clause Violation

In Copas v. Haslam, (MD TN, May 25, 2018), a Tennessee federal district court held that a gay Army veteran, who also holds a degree in counseling, has standing to bring an Establishment Clause challenge to a Tennessee law that permits therapists to refuse to serve LGBT clients when doing so would violate the therapist's religious beliefs. Plaintiff suffers from PTSD and Chronic Adjustment disorder, and has sought therapy in the past. The court held that plaintiff's claim that he has been marginalized and "made to feel ostracized and
unworthy as a non-adherent to the religiously-based, anti-LGBT preference" in the law is a sufficiently concrete injury to grant standing.  It also held that he has been sufficiently personally injured by the law to satisfy Article III standing requirements for his Establishment Clause claim.  The court however dismissed several equal protection claims made by plaintiff.