Idaho Governor Brad Little has signed a bill strengthening protections for Christian counselors and therapists, ensuring they are not forced to counsel clients towards goals, outcomes, or behaviors that violate their conscience.

Gov. Little signed the legislation (SB 1352) into law on Thursday after it passed the Idaho state Senate by an overwhelming 23-11-1 vote on Feb. 28. The bill was approved by the Idaho state House on Mar. 18 by an even wider margin of 59-10-1.

The legislation states:

No person engaged in the practice of professional counseling or marriage and family therapy in the state of Idaho shall be required to provide counseling to or facilitate the counseling of a client in support of goals, outcomes, or behaviors that conflict with the sincerely held religious, moral, or ethical principles of the counselor or therapist.

SB 1352 ensures Christian counselors can operate their practices in accordance with their religious beliefs. For example, a Christian counselor could decline to help a male client struggling with sexual identity confusion “change” their perceived “gender identity” to female.

Of course, the counselor could also offer the individual help reconciling their perceived “gender identity” with their biological sex.

“Everyone is served best when counselors and therapists can put their client’s best interest first,” Alliance Defending Freedom Legal Counsel Greg Chafuen said in a statement about the legislation.

“To do that, our laws should guarantee that counselors are not forced to provide counseling that conflicts with their sincerely held religious beliefs or that the counselor believes to be harmful to the client.”

Chafuen added,

This critical legislation ensures that counselors and therapists will not be discriminated against when they have a conscientious objection to counseling a client toward a particular outcome that would violate their conscience.

It rightly prohibits unnecessary intrusion in a counselor’s or therapist’s office, safeguards freedom of conscience, and preserves the privacy of a client’s relationship with his or her counselor or therapist.

At a time when many states have passed laws prohibiting counselors from helping those struggling with unwanted homosexuality or transgenderism, Idaho’s SB 1352 is a welcome protection for Christian counselors in The Gem State.

Focus on the Family’s Counseling Department offers help from licensed or pastoral counselors. To request a conversation with Focus on the Family’s Counseling Department, call 1-855-771-HELP (4357) weekdays from 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. (Mountain Time), or complete our Counseling Consultation Request Form. Please be prepared to leave your contact information for a counselor to return a call to you as soon as possible. The consultation is available at no cost to you due to generous donor support and will be with one of our licensed or pastoral counseling specialists.

We also offer referrals for licensed Christian counselors in your area through the Focus on the Family Christian Counselors Network.

Related articles and resources:

Counseling Consultation & Referrals

Christian Counselors Network

Homosexuality Resources

Transgender Resources

Can Minors Receive Counseling Help for Unwanted Same-Sex Attraction or Sexual Identity Confusion? Federal Courts Split on Local Prohibitions.

Freedom from Homosexuality – What’s the Controversy?

Is Therapy to Leave Homosexuality Damaging? New Review Says, ‘No Proof of Harm’

New Study Shows Therapy to Leave Homosexuality Can Be Effective and Helpful

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