On Monday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the “Parental Rights in Education” bill — also dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill – into law.
The bill prohibits the discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity in kindergarten through third-grade classrooms and also bars teaching those topics in other classrooms in ways that are “not age-appropriate.”
The bill prohibits schools from not notifying parents about a student’s “mental, emotional or physical health or well-being,” which could include requiring schools to “out” LGTBQ students to parents.
“I think the last couple years have really revealed to parents that they are being ignored increasingly across our country when it comes to their kids education,” DeSantis said prior to the signing. “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. And we’ve seen services that were given to students without the consent or even knowledge of their parents across the country and we — unfortunately, that’s happened here in the state of Florida.”
Shortly after the signing, critics of the bill began railing against DeSantis’ decision to sign the legislation.
Orlando’s onePULSE Foundation nonprofit, established in the wake of the Pulse nightclub tragedy, issued the following statement:
“Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill is hateful, discriminatory and bigoted and will further stigmatize, marginalize and isolate LGBTQ+ youth and their families. We denounce this unconscionable and shameful law and will continue to #SayGay and stand in solidarity with all LGBTQ+ Floridians to help ensure that every student – especially those most vulnerable and in need of support – feels safe, welcomed and included at school. The importance of safe spaces – like Pulse nightclub was for Orlando’s LGBTQ+ community – cannot be overstated. It is our hope that the National Pulse Memorial & Museum will serve as such a critical space and educational forum in the future.”
“Being #LGBTQ and caring about LGBTQ+ kids is not a leftist agenda,” State Rep. Anna Eskamani wrote on Twitter. “It’s about compassion and caring about every type of family and kid, no matter who they are or who they love.”
Being #LGBTQ and caring about LGBTQ+ kids is not a leftist agenda. It's about compassion and caring about every type of family and kid, no matter who they are or who they love.
— Rep. Anna V. Eskamani 🔨 (@AnnaForFlorida) March 28, 2022
Disney, one of Florida’s largest private employers, also released a statement on the law:
“Florida’s HB 1557, also known as the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill, should never have passed and should never have been signed into law. 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. We are dedicated to standing up for the rights and safety of LGBTQ+ members of the Disney family, as well as the LGBTQ+ community in Florida and across the country.”
The law takes effect July 1, 2022.