NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Nashville Mayor Megan Barry spoke out Friday about multiple organizations that have canceled conferences in Nashville following the passage of a controversial counseling bill by the Tennessee General Assembly.
The new law would allow counselors to turn away patients based on the counselors’ “strongly held principles.”
Prior to the bill’s passage, the American Counseling Association spoke out against it, saying Tennessee would be the only state to allow counselors to refuse to treat patients if the bill passed.
Since the bill became law, at least three organizations have canceled meetings that were scheduled to be held in Music City.
The American Counseling Association, the Human Rights Campaign, and the Centers for Spiritual Living have all pulled their conferences out of Nashville. Opponents of the new counseling law say it’s harmful to the LGBT community.
Mayor Barry told WATE 6 On Your Side’s sister station, WKRN, “I am deeply concerned about the loss of revenue to our city because of action taken by the state legislature.”
She encouraged would-be visitors and convention goers to still come to Nashville.
“My message to the community of folks who want to visit Nashville is, ‘Come to Nashville.’ We are a warm and welcoming place, and we really don’t want the city to be punished for things the state may do. So, we encourage people to still consider [coming] to Nashville.”
The Bingham Cup, a gay rugby tournament, was held in Nashville over the weekend.
Organizers were aware of the new law but did not change the location of the tournament.
“We’ve been planning this for two years, so the ship had pretty much sailed on trying to move it,” explained Jon Glassmeyer with the Nashville Grizzlies rugby team.
He went on to say that “Nashville could not be more accepting,” noting city leaders had attended the tournament’s opening ceremonies. Glassmeyer estimates the tournament will generate $1 million for Nashville’s economy.
“At the end of the day, we generate a tremendous amount of money in Davidson County that the entire state benefits from, and I want us to continue to be that revenue generator and that economic engine that keeps Tennessee a great place to be,” said Mayor Barry.