Texas legislators fighting new rule allowing social workers to deny service to LGBTQ, disabled clients

Sen. Jose Menendez, other leaders join to fight new ethics code update

SAN ANTONIO – Organizations and legislators continue to lash out after the Texas State Board of Social Worker Examiners voted to allow social workers to refuse service to people based on disability, sexual orientation or gender identity.

The board voted unanimously to change the code of conduct protections one week ago on Oct. 12.

“Not only will our community suffer, but the disabled community will suffer. I know specifically for our community, LGBTQIA+ folks are already at a disproportionate level of being vulnerable to self-harm and other issues, and this will only further add to that problem,” said Pride Center San Antonio Executive Director Robert Salcido.

State legislators are hearing calls for intervention from organizations like the Pride Center.

“You’re at one of your lowest points already and someone tells you, ‘I’m sorry my religious beliefs will keep me from treating someone like you.’ You know what? If that’s how you feel, don’t take that job. Don’t be in that line of work if that’s going to put you in front of people that need help,” said State Sen.Jose Menendez.

Menendez announced Monday that he has joined State Rep. Jessica Gonzalez from Dallas, who chairs the House LGBTQ Caucus.

Together they have pledged to fight to overturn the code change and introduce legislation that stops similar changes from happening in the future.

“I am going to reach out to every senator and every house member and every elected official in the state to make their voices are heard with this board,” Menendez said.

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