Kamala Harris says Florida’s hateful Don’t Say Gay law stops teachers from ‘be able to love openly’

Kamala Harris Pride

US vice president Kamala Harris has blasted Florida’s harmful “Don’t Say Gay” law as well as the historic reversal of Roe v Wade in an interview on Sunday (24 July).

Speaking to Brian Tyler Cohen, Harris decried several recent attacks against women and the LGBTQ+ community, including the erosion of abortion rights, describing Republicans as “extremists”.

When asked why young people should continue voting in America, Harris warned that several key issues – including climate change, abortion rights and LGBTQ+ rights – are on the line.

“We all know your right to vote and the action of voting unlocks all the other rights, including same-sex marriage,” the vice president said. 

“Including whether we are going to stand up against a law that says ‘Don’t Say Gay’, restricting kindergarten through third grade teachers in Florida to be able to love openly and teach what they believe is important for people to understand.

“All these things are at stake right now in America… I can’t think of a population that has more at stake than younger Americans.”

Though she did not mention names, Kamala Harris also tore into several leaders of states who have passed restrictions on abortion access in the wake of the Supreme Court’s ruling that overturned Roe v Wade.

She said: “We have governors from Florida to Texas and other states who are approaching this from an extremist position, that is definitely about attacking the rights of women to make decisions about their own body.

“These various states with these extremist, so-called leaders are passing laws that make it more difficult for a woman to have access to reproductive care and to abortion.”
Florida’s much-criticised “Don’t Say Gay” legislation, which was signed into law in March, prohibits discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten to third grade classrooms in the state. 

As well as Kamala Harris, president Joe Biden has criticised Republican lawmakers who brought through the legislation, adding in a speech in May that people would “think I was crazy” if he had to describe the state of political attacks against the LGBTQ+ community to people from the past. 

“Did you ever think we’d be in a position in the year 2022 – we’d be talking about banning books in schools?” Biden said.

“I mean, you know, the idea that you cannot mention – you cannot mention to the school.

“What’s going to happen to a gay child, an L[G]BTQ child in school?”