Thursday, August 18, 2022

Opponents of Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill Say New Law is ‘Based on Falsehood’

Ron DeSantis
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

*Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has signed the controversial ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill into law which prohibits classroom instruction around sexual orientation and gender identity.

Opponents say the vague law is intended to intimidate teachers, suppress gender topics, and target LGBTQ students.

“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 state Rep. Carlos G. Smith, a gay Democrat, as reported by The Associated Press. “Even worse, #DontSayGay sends a hateful message to our most vulnerable youth who simply need our support.”

Andrew Spar, president of the Florida Education Association, said the Don’t Say Gay bill (aka “Parental Rights in Education” bill) “is based on a falsehood, and that falsehood is that somehow we’re teaching kids inappropriate topics at an early age, and clearly we’re not,” Spar said.

READ MORE: Florida’s Controversial ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill Signed by Gov. DeSantis

The law, which applies to kindergarten through third grade, states: “Classroom instruction by school personnel or third parties on sexual orientation or gender identity may not occur in kindergarten through grade 3 or in a manner that is not age appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards.” 

The new law allows parents to sue districts over violations, and the school district will have to cover the legal costs. 

“We will make sure that parents can send their kids to school to get an education, not an indoctrination,” DeSantis said on Monday.

LGBT celebrities and supporters of the community rallied against the bill as it moved through the legislature. Florida students staged walkouts and the Walt Disney Company, a powerful player in Florida politics, halted political donations in the state.  After DeSantis signed the bill on Monday, Disney released a statement saying, “Our goal as a company is for this law to be repealed by the legislature or struck down in the courts, and we remain committed to supporting the national and state organizations working to achieve that.”

The “Parental Rights in Education” bill will go into effect in July.

During the press conference for the bill signing, DeSantis argued that “we will continue to recognize that in the state of Florida, parents have a fundamental role in the education, health care, and well-being of their children. We will not move from that.”

To learn about what opponents of the bill are fearful about, read more here.

Ny MaGee
Ny MaGee is an entertainment reporter with over 15 years of experience working in the film industry in areas including production and post-production, marketing, distribution, and acquisitions. She has worked for legendary film producer Roger Corman, Quentin Tarantino's production team at Miramax, the late Larry Flynt, MTV/ VH1, Hallmark Channel, Paramount, Jim Henson Co., Parade Magazine, and various LA-based companies representing above-the-line talent.

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