Texas social workers now allowed to discriminate against LGBT or disabled service users

Social workers in Texas will now be able to decline to serve people because of a disability, or because of their sexual orientation.

The change comes as the Texas State Board of Social Work Examiners and the Texas Behavioral Health Executive Council voted unanimously to remove the protections.

The change was proposed by Republican governor Greg Abbott because the protections do not align with the current Texas statutes which do not protect LGBT people, according to Dallas Voice.

The change is in direct contradiction to the National Association of Social Workers’ (NASW) code of conduct and ethics guidance, and has drawn widespread criticism from a number of civil rights groups.

“This is cruel, cowardly politics at its worst,” said Kathy Miller, president of the Texas Freedom Network. “Pro-discrimination groups couldn’t get this passed into law, but Gov. Abbott has done their bidding by pushing it through administratively in an obscure meeting when he thought few people were watching. Discrimination is shameful, even more so when you try to hide what you’re doing.”

The changes made are legally binding, but professional conduct rules, set by NASW, still bar social workers from discriminating though it is unclear whether these are ultimately able to be enforced.

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