'Don't Say Gay' bill would limit discussion of sexuality and gender in Florida schools
Proposed legislation in Florida would restrict how teachers can discuss sexuality and gender in the classroom, the latest effort by Republican lawmakers to remove the teaching of LGBTQ issues from schools.
Supporters say the measure empowers parents who deserve to have a say in what their children learn, but critics — who've dubbed the proposal the "Don't Say Gay" bill — argue that it will strip protections from LGBTQ kids and have a chilling effect on educators.
Versions of the so-called Parental Rights in Education bill passed a Florida House committee in January and cleared a Senate committee this week.
What's in the bill
Under the House bill, a Florida school district "may not encourage classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity in primary grade levels or in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students." The bill doesn't specify how "age-appropriate" and "developmentally appropriate" would be defined.
The bills would also give parents the ability to sue schools if they believed the schools violated any provisions of the law.
Florida governor signals support
Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signaled his support for the measure during an event on Monday but didn't say whether he'd sign the bill if it reached his desk.
The group Equality Florida, which advocates for ending discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, said the bill is "dangerous" and accused lawmakers of targeting LGBTQ young people.
"This legislation is meant to stigmatize LGBTQ people, isolate LGBTQ kids, and make teachers fearful of providing a safe, inclusive classroom," the group said in a statement. "The existence of LGBTQ students and parents is not a taboo topic that has to be regulated by the Florida Legislature."