Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis Signs ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill Into Law
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed the Parental Rights in Education bill into law on Monday, which restricts the education of sexual orientation and gender identity for children in kindergarten through third grade.
DeSantis said the bill, which has been dubbed “Don’t Say Gay” by critics, allows parents to decide when and how to broach the topic with their children.
“I think the last couple of years have really revealed to parents that they are being ignored increasingly across our country when it comes to their kids’ education,” DeSantis said. “We have seen curriculum embedded for very, very young children, classroom materials about sexuality and woke gender ideology. We’ve seen libraries that have clearly inappropriate pornographic materials for very young kids.”
Florida state Sen. Kelli Stargel (R) echoed DeSantis’ statements.
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“This bill is not intended to hurt students,” added Stargel. “This bill is not intended to out gay children. This bill is intended to strengthen the family.”
The law also allows parents to reject mental, emotional and physical health services available through their child’s school. Schools will also be required to let parents know if their child decides to use a school health service unless the child would be harmed by their parents knowing that they utilized the service.
Critics argue that the bill further marginalizes the LGBTQ community by decreasing representation and open discussion.
“The bill’s intentionally vague language leaves teachers afraid to talk to their students and opens up school districts to costly and frivolous litigation from those seeking to exclude LGBTQ people from any grade level,” said Democratic state Rep. Carlos G. Smith, who is gay.
"This sends toxic message to children who are already vulnerable that they'lll internalize…LGBTQ children are 4X more likely to attempt suicide than their peers, and 40% of homeless youth are LGBTQ."
— Rep. Carlos G Smith (@CarlosGSmith) March 29, 2022
President Joe Biden also weighed in, vowing “my Administration will continue to fight for dignity and opportunity for every student and family — in Florida and around the country.”
Every student deserves to feel safe and welcome in the classroom. Our LGBTQI+ youth deserve to be affirmed and accepted just as they are. My Administration will continue to fight for dignity and opportunity for every student and family — in Florida and around the country.
— President Biden (@POTUS) March 28, 2022
The bill will be implemented on July 1.
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