Interwaco prepares for upcoming legislative session with Equalit - KXXV-TV News Channel 25 - Central Texas News and Weather for Waco, Temple, Killeen |

Interwaco prepares for upcoming legislative session with Equality Day

SOURCE:KXXV SOURCE:KXXV
WACO, TX (KXXV) -

In a month, the Texas Legislature will kick off their 85th session and some Central Texans are preparing to advocate their causes through education. 

The LGBTQ group Interwaco held their 4th Annual Equality Day at the South Waco Library Saturday. Robert Salcido of Equality Texas said the day provides a practice for civic engagement.

"It gives us an opportunity to talk with local community members and educate them on issues that are affecting local Texans," Salcido said.

Equality Texas advocates and lobbies for full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Texans. The have shared a personal letter from an undisclosed company denying health care benefits to one same-sex couple.

"Since same-sex marriage is not currently recognized at the state level here in Texas, our plan would not allow x to be covered," Salcido read.

Currently, the company is allowed to deny benefits since same-sex marriage is not recognized by the state of Texas. Proposed SB-157 hopes to repeal the state ban and recognize those unions in the upcoming 85th session. 

The work session shared examples in an effort to showcase the different adversities that members of the LGBTQ community may face. Carmen Saenz, Founder of Interwaco, believes it's important that representatives work for their needs as well. "It's important to just share our story because it puts a face to the impact, to the bill and how it's going affect their constituents," Saenz said.

In the upcoming session, there are several bills that Equality Texas will be supporting and some that are on their radar. "A bill like SB-92 would nullify discrimination ordinances that have been added in to cover gender identity and expression," Salcido said.

The bill would prohibit local agencies from creating nondiscrimination protections broader than state law. If passed, this would effectively reverse protections introduced by Interwaco along with the city of Waco. 

Saenz believes this policy was put into place because of the strong relationship the LGBTQ community has built with public officials and legislators. 

"Waco is a wonderful city and we have a great relationship with our city officials and our county officials and it just makes Waco and McLennan County a better, safer place to live," Saenz said. 

Copyright 2016 KXXV. All rights reserved. 

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