Respect Equality

Florida Gov. DeSantis backs ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill

Story at a glance

  • Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) on Monday suggested that he supported Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which would prohibit discussions of gender identity and sexual orientation in schools.
  • Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill passed in the state House Education and Employment Committee in January. A nearly identical bill has also been introduced in the state Senate.
  • DeSantis on Monday did not indicate whether he would sign the bill if it reached his desk, CNN reported.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) on Monday signaled support for a bill moving through the state legislature that would limit discussions of gender identity and sexual orientation in the classroom.

DeSantis at a media event Monday told reporters he believed it was “entirely inappropriate” for educators to speak to students about their gender identity. He claimed that, in some places, children are told “Don’t worry, don’t pick your gender yet,” but added that he doesn’t think that is happening in Florida “in large numbers.”

“Schools need to be teaching kids to read, to write,” DeSantis said Monday. “They need to teach them science, history. We need more civics and understanding of the U.S. Constitution, what makes our country unique, all those basic things.”

Florida’s Parental Rights in Education bill, colloquially known as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, passed in the state in the state House Education and Employment Committee in January.


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The bill, introduced by state Sen. Joe Harding (R), would bar educators in Florida from talking about LGBTQ+ topics that are not considered “age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students.” Parents under the bill would also be able to take legal action against school districts if they believe the district to be in violation.

A nearly identical bill has also been introduced in the state Senate.

DeSantis did not say whether he would sign the bill if it reached his desk, CNN reported. He said that the goal of the bill was to simply create greater transparency for parents.

“You have politicians saying parents have no role in the education of their kids. Give me a break,” he said. “We want parents to be able to have access to what’s going on in the classroom.”

The governor, who is running for reelection, voiced a similar belief during a campaign stop in South Florida last week when he said he believed many parents are genuinely concerned about what their children are being exposed to in the classroom.

“I think a lot of parents have very strong beliefs about what is appropriate for the school system to be discussing and certainly in terms of trying to affirmatively push kids in one direction or another in some of these areas,” he said, CBS-affiliate WFOR-TV reported.

But opponents of the bill have argued that the bill actually has little to do with parents’ rights and really aims to erase LGBTQ+ history, culture, and people.

“I don’t really think this is about parents’ rights. Parents’ rights to do what? To tell LGBTQ kids that they don’t belong? To push LGBTQ families away and into the closet? I mean, hypothetically, if we’re having a bake sale on Friday, would my husband and I not be welcome at the school because we’re in a same sex relationship?,” Chasten Buttigeig, the husband of transportation secretary Pete Buttigeig, said during an appearance on CNN late last month.

Changing America has reached out to DeSantis’ office for comment.


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