GetEQUAL TX expects up to 20 arrests at action in support of state ENDA

Posted on 16 Apr 2013 at 4:38pm
LGBT advocates march in Downtown Austin to the state capitol during GetEQUAL TX's Texas March for LGBT Justice on March 10, 2013. (Anna Waugh/ Dallas Voise)

LGBT advocates march in Downtown Austin to the state capitol during GetEQUAL TX’s Texas March for LGBT Justice on March 10, 2013. (Anna Waugh/ Dallas Voise)

Activists with GetEQUAL TX are gearing up for possible arrests over the next few weeks as part of their efforts to urge lawmakers to pass workplace nondiscrimination protections for LGBT people.

The Senate Economic Development Committee has already heard testimony on SB 237, filed by state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio, but the bill was left pending in committee.

Michael Diviesti, GetEQUAL TX state co-coordinator, said the organization was planning actions that could lead to arrests. He said the first is planned for Wednesday, but he doesn’t expect anyone to be arrested. Next week is when he expects anywhere from 14 to 20 activists to be arrested.

He said his legal team expects everyone to be charged with misdemeanors so the organization is trying to raise $4,000 to cover bail, or $200 for 20 people.

The organization is also asking people to contact members of the Senate committee to urge them to support the legislation.

The committee’s seven members are: Chairman Bob Deuell, R-Greenville, Vice Chairman Kelly Hancock, R-North Richland Hills, Brian Birdwell, R-Granbury, Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, Kevin Eltife, R-Tyler, Troy Fraser, R-Horseshoe Bay, and Kirk Watson, D-Austin. Both Davis and Watson are co-authors.

Diviesti said he’s asking people to mainly contact Birdwell because his office has told people who call that he is against the bill because it would make it difficult to fire LGBT workers who don’t do their jobs.

Birdwell’s office did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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