Following a recommendation from Governor Greg Abbott, Texas will now allow social workers to turn away LGBT or disabled clients. Yes, you read that right.
Abbott advised the State Board of Social Work Examiners that its nondiscrimination policy exceeded the one put in place by Texas’ Occupations Code, and social workers in the state can now turn away clients based on their disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity.
The change comes after the state Board of Social Work Examiners voted unanimously to not include language from its code of conduct that prohibited social work organizations in the state from turning away individuals based on their disability, orientation, or gender identity.
The Associated Press reports that the board made the decision following a recommendation by Governor Greg Abbott.
As reported, they made the decision during a meeting with the Texas Behavioral Health Executive Council last week.
Renae Eze, a spokeswoman for Abbott’s office, said that it’s not surprising that a board would align its rules with statutes passed by the Legislature.
The board’s decision has been heavily criticized by advocacy organizations, claiming that the board shouldn’t have listed to the governor’s recommendation but seek public comment.
The decision is incredibly disheartening and it creates the impression that disabled and LGBT people can be discriminated against despite federal rules that are in place to protect them.
Texas social workers can now turn away LGBTQ and disabled clients. https://t.co/9atkAFSZU7
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) October 19, 2020
I am disappointed that Texans feel it necessary to take away rights and services instead of choosing to be inclusive and protect the to rights of everyone. I look forward to representing and advocating for all once in D.C. https://t.co/5PK434i3fO
— Dr. Lisa Welch for US House (@Welch_tx) October 15, 2020