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Sen. Jose Rodriguez

Texas Sen. Jose Rodriguez, D-El Paso, today (Monday, March 2) introduced SB 856, a statewide anti-discrimination bill that ban discrimination in employment, public accommodations, housing and state contracting based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.

Co-authors for the bill are Sens. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston; Sylvia Garcia, D-Houston; Kirk Watson, D-Austin; and John Whitmire, D-Houston.

Rodriguez said he chose to file the bill on Texas Independence Day “because Texas values — such as hard work, opportunity and The Golden Rule — are the reason why Texas remains strong 179 years later. That is why we must act definitively to ensure everyone in the Lone Star State is treated fairly and equally.”

Chuck Smith, executive director of Equality Texas, said his organization “applauds Sen. Rodriguez and his four co-authors for the filing of the omnibus non-discrimination bill… .Every Texan deserves to be treated fairly and equally, including gay and transgender Texans. This legislation would help ensure that every Texan has the opportunity to work hard, earn a living and provide for their families in the great state we proudly call home.”

Smith also reminded LGBT Texans and their allies that Family Advocacy Day is set for March 23 and Freedom Advocacy Day will be held April 13.