Florida's "Don't Say Gay" bill is moving forward in the House

This measure would ban discussions on "sexual orientation and gender identity" in primary schools.

Florida's "Don't Say Gay" bill is moving forward in the House

TALLAHASSEE (Fla.) -- The Florida House Republicans approved Tuesday a bill that would forbid the discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity in schools. This was rejected by Democrats who claimed it demonizes LGBTQ persons.

After a number of Democratic amendments were rejected Tuesday by GOP lawmakers, the measure is now up for final vote in the House.


 

This proposal has been the subject of intense national scrutiny. It has also served as the latest battlefield between the White House, Republican Governor and Republican Governor. Ron DeSantis is running for reelection. He is widely believed to be a potential 2024 presidential contender.

DeSantis did not endorse the legislation, but earlier this month he said that it was inappropriate for teachers to discuss students’ gender identities with their students without parental consent. Biden, who made the comments after the governor's remarks, called the proposal "hateful" and the White House issued a statement stating that the measure targets LGBTQ students.

Republican Rep. Joe Harding sponsored the bill. It states that "classroom instruction by school personnel on sexual orientation and gender identity may not take place in kindergarten through grade 3, or in a manner not appropriate for their age or developmental needs for students in accordance to state standards." Parents could sue the district for violating this provision.

Harding maintained that the bill wouldn't prevent spontaneous discussions on the topics. He said that the legislation was meant to stop any district from integrating them in their curriculum. Critics claim that the bill's language is too broad to cover all grades and could lead to parents filing lawsuits against districts for inappropriate conversations.

Tuesday's debate about how teachers should deal with questions regarding students with two mothers was held. Harding dismissed those concerns and stated, "The idea that somehow in this bill we are preventing teachers from having discussions with our students is just wrong."

He said, "Discussions on the different types families, maybe an instruction regarding different types families understanding that gender orientation relating those students and getting into that part is exactly why we're talking about." "Nowhere are we eliminating the possibility of having a discussion about different types families. That's the most misleading quote I have heard about what the bill does.

Carlos Guillermo Smith (Democrat) told lawmakers that the bill was very personal. He said that it discriminates against LGBTQ people and labels them taboo.

What topics about LGBTQ Floridians are appropriate for the classroom?" Are they topics about the love between LGBTQ people? Are they topics about marriages which are legal in the United States or Florida? Or is it about our families or sexual activity? He asked.

Brandon Wolf, Equality Florida's press secretary, attacked the bill.

"It's terrifying to be LGBTQ young person in this nation to have your existence legislated and regulated by people who don’t look like or live like yourself. Wolf said that it was important to remind these young people that they are not alone. "I hope that LGBTQ young people will see in all this coverage that there are allies and complicity in the fight. That there are people who will work to defend them seven days a week. It's important for them to know that they are loved and valued exactly as they are.


 

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