Florida votes to expand horrific ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law
Florida lawmakers have voted to expand the state’s horrific ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law, further tightening restrictions on how schools address LGBTQ+ topics.
The Republican-controlled House passed an extension to the Parental Rights in Education Act by 77 votes to 35 on Friday (31 March).
The extension bans discussions of gender identity and sexual orientation in public schools through the eighth grade, up from third grade as previously outlined in the legislation.
The bill would also require school staff and pupils to address people by pronouns which correspond to their assigned sex at birth, as well as giving parents more power to challenge books or materials they feel are inappropriate.
In March, Florida governor Ron DeSantis proposed an expansion to the legislation which sought to “forbid classroom instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in all grades”.
DeSantis – who is a favourite to run for the 2024 presidential election for the Republicans – has come under fire many times for his ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law, as well as banning books in Florida which are considered “woke”.
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As quoted by Orlando Weekly, Port Orange Republican Chase Tramont said the legislation is “pro-family, it is pro-teacher, it is pro-education”.
“It is pro-family because it takes some of the most-sensitive and personal issues and discussions and it keeps them in the homes,” Tramont said, “where it is the responsibility of the parent to determine the manner in which, and frankly the timing in which, some of these issues and conversations should be taking place.”
Teachers are not ‘indoctrinating our kids’
Citrus County GOP representative Ralph Massullo denied the bill was anti-LGBTQ+.
“This bill has nothing to do with what our children’s sexual identity is. It’s not marginalising our children’s sexual identity at all. It’s actually allowing them to be children,” the San Francisco Chronicle quoted him as saying.
Democrats, however, said the bill explicitly targets the LGBTQ+ community and will have a severe impact on queer youth.
“Teachers have literally taken bullets for their students,” Democrat Rita Harris who represents the 44th district said. “They do everything they can to keep them safe.
“They are not indoctrinating our kids. They are heroes, not villains.
“And this bill causes more of these incredible educators to leave the profession, and some of them to leave the state.”
The legislation was passed in the House but will still need to be approved in the Senate before DeSantis would be able to sign it into law.
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