Controversial Gender Identity Policy Is “Invalid,” Says Attorney General



Today Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office released an official legal analysis concluding that the Texas Behavioral Health Executive Council (BHEC) exceeded their authority by providing special protections to social workers based on “sexual orientation and gender identity” (SOGI). In short, what the Council did was wrong and arguably illegal.

SOGI policies are often used as weapons to punish people of faith who follow a biblical definition of biological sex. Back in January of this year, Texas Values submitted a detailed legal brief, explaining BHEC’s lack of authority in state and federal law to pursue implementation of SOGI policies without going through the Texas legislative process.

“Today’s legal decision makes it clear that a rogue government bureaucracy exceeded their authority and got caught doing it. State agencies are not allowed to conveniently bypass the Texas Legislature and the people in order to accomplish their political agenda. Controversial sexual orientation and gender identity language is often used as weapons to punish people of faith and it has no place in Texas law,” said Jonathan Covey, Director of Policy for Texas Values.

In October of 2020, BHEC, the overseeing agency for the Texas Social Worker Board, held a hearing to discuss a decision by the Social Worker Board to align its code of conduct with state law and remove problematic SOGI language.

BHEC voted to reverse that decision and reinstate special protect for sexual orientation and gender identity, which is not a part of current state law. Texas Values presented testimony at this hearing in opposition to the adding of the controversial sexual orientation and gender identity language. BHEC also decided to send a letter requesting a legal opinion to the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) of Texas. The letter from BHEC Executive Director strongly stated the Council’s belief that it possessed the authority to unilaterally implement SOGI language in its code of conduct.

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