In Lincoln on Monday a coalition of social workers, psychologists and family therapists filed a petition insisting that the Department of Health and Human Services advance rules requiring certain mental health professionals to offer referrals to gay patients if they refuse to treat them because of religious beliefs.
Terry Werner, who heads the Nebraska chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, said such referrals are already required in the code of ethics that governs each profession in the group. But he said the proposed regulations have sat untouched by the Division of Public Health since mid-2010.
"We believe that a therapist has the right to refuse service based upon religious or moral convictions," Werner said. "However, they absolutely must provide a thorough and comprehensive referral. Anything less than that, in our minds, is in violation of our code of ethics and is not in the best interest of the client."