City of Waco Adds LGBTs To Nondescrimination Policy

Jun 3, 2014

The City of Waco has amended its discrimination policy to include lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people.

The city’s nondiscrimination policy already bans discriminating against employees based on their race, sex, religion and a few other categories. But LGBT hadn’t been included. Carmen Saenz is a psychology professional and active in Waco’s LGBT community. She’s been working to change the city’s discrimination policy since 2012.

"A lot of people didn’t realize that there are no federal or state non-discrimination policies for people that are LGBT," Saenz said. "Then we met with the equal employment opportunity advisory council in July of 2013 and they unanimously approved the change to the policy, saying yes we needed it."

But then-city manager Larry Groth turned down the equal opportunity board’s proposal. He said any extent of discrimination and harassment wasn’t allowed under the city’s employment policy. Current city manager Dale Fisseler made the decision yesterday to go ahead and make that change. 

"A city government is open to everybody of all races, creeds and colors," said Larry Holze, Waco's public information officer. "[City Manager Fisseler's] feeling that it’s time we step up and not discriminate either way. This is not to say we’re endorsing it or saying we’re for it or against it, either one, it’s just saying we’re not going to discriminate against it.”

Holze also said Fisseler’s previous time working in Fort Worth’s city government influenced his decision. In 2009, the Fort Worth city council passed a sweeping LGBT anti-discrimination ordinance.