Most of the attention Michigan has been getting recently has to do with the word "Vagina." Eek, am I going to get in big trouble for using that bad, bad word in public? The Michigan House is busy shooting for the stars when it comes to being unfriendly to uteruses. (You know, the things that can be found at the end of VAGINAS. Oops, I did it again.) But let's not forget that they're also up to plenty of other no-good things. Take, for instance, a bill that they just passed last week that would exempt students who are studying to be counselors and social workers from having to provide services to anybody that is doing anything which conflicts with the student's religious beliefs.
You can probably see where this is going, but basically this means that anyone who has the popular religious belief that homosexuality is wrong could refuse to provide counseling to a gay patient that came along. Certainly turning someone in need away—no matter what you think of their lifestyle—does not conform very neatly to any number of other religious beliefs like not hating people and not judging them. But what does that have to do with anything?
Of course, this bill applies just to the time that students are in training and has no control over what happens once they're in a professional setting. But as Zack Ford at ThinkProgress points out, "By advancing this legislation, Michigan lawmakers are essentially attempting to circumvent — if not dictate — counseling ethical standards." That is a slippery slope if there ever was one, and the fact that they're willing to set this precedent doesn't bode well for the future.
Though regarding the future of the Mitten State, perhaps it's time to downgrade our expectations because promoting discriminatory practices is becoming a frightfully common thing there. They already banned domestic partnerships at the end of last year, and now they've banned the word vagina. So, you know, maybe they ought to just save themselves a lot of trouble and pass a sweeping bill that orders all living vaginas and gay people out of the state, effective immediately?
Image via Richard Laschon/Shutterstock.