The Texas Behavioral Health Executive Council voted unanimously Tuesday to reverse a rule change that would allow social workers to refuse to work with clients on the basis of disability, sexual orientation or gender identity.
Edgar Walters with the Texas Tribune reported that backlash from lawmakers and advocates led the state board to restore the clients’ protections, just two weeks after removing them.
“We are so grateful for the vote to keep the anti-discrimination protections in place,” said Will Francis, executive director of the Texas chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, as reported by Walters. “This is a recognition of the key principle that a social worker’s personal beliefs must never impede a person’s right to self-determination or access to services.”
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Gloria Canseco, who was appointed by Governor Greg Abbott to lead the behavioral health council, said the previous rule change was never meant to be “perceived as hostile to the LGBTQ+ community or to disabled persons,” adding that “at every opportunity, our intent is to prohibit discrimination against any person for any reason.”
The rule change, recommended earlier this month from Gov. Abbott’s office, was due to the code’s nondiscrimination protections “going beyond protections laid out in the state law that governs how and when the state may discipline social workers.”
Senator José Menéndez of San Antonio and state representative Jessica González of Dallas said Tuesday that they would file legislation next year to prevent discrimination against marginalized groups, Walters reported.
Source : chron.com