Kamala Harris slams Florida’s Don’t Say Gay law in powerful interview: ‘Outrageous’

Joe Biden Kamala Harris

Vice-president Kamala Harris has described the consequences of Florida’s controversial ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law as “outrageous”.

In a powerful interview with Advocate magazine on Wednesday (21 June), Harris laid out her views on several LGBTQ+ issues, including the repressive Don’t Say Gay law, the Respect for Marriage act, and the rise in anti-LGBTQ+ legislation across the US.

“You look at Florida, the Don’t Say Gay bill and what this has meant for LGBTQ+ teachers who are now afraid,” the vice president said. 

She added that it is “outrageous” that some queer teachers in Florida now fear being fired from their jobs due to the law, which bans classroom discussion of LGBTQ+ topics in classrooms across the state.

“I’m looking at some 20-something-year-old teacher in Florida who has dedicated [themselves] to one of the most noble professions,” Harris continued.

“And that teacher who is in a loving relationship or marriage is afraid to put up a photograph of their family for fear that if a student in their classroom asks, ‘who is that?’ it will raise a conversation about a same-sex relationship, and they could lose their job. Outrageous!”

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Harris has previously criticised the Florida law in other interviews, describing Republicans as “extremists” in 2022, and saying: “I can’t think of a population that has more at stake than younger Americans.”

Addressing the increase in anti-LGBTQ+ legislation across the US more widely, with more than 500 laws restricting everything from drag to gender-affirming care introduced in 2023 alone, Harris said she “hates bullies”. 

“I can’t stand it when so-called powerful people intentionally try to strike fear in innocent people,” the US vice-president told Advocate.

“We just have to make sure that this moment is motivating people to act and not motivating people to be afraid.”

The interview also covered the Respect for Marriage Act, which protects Americans’ right to same-sex marriage and interracial marriage, signed into law by President Joe Biden in December 2022

“Nobody should be made to fight alone,” Harris said.

“Our president has been in front of this issue for so long also, so to be with him on the stage where there’s a mutual recognition of what this means in terms of our mutual commitment to this issue, that also meant a lot.”

Harris underlined that fighting for LGBTQ+ rights means fighting for abortion rights – particularly after the constitutional right to abortion, enshrined in Roe v Wade, was overturned last year – and against racism. She said that “attacks on identity” go hand-in-hand.

“The intersection on the issue of reproductive care and trans care, and the ability of families to be able to have care for their children and their families is really, again, an intersection around attacks that are on an identity,” Harris continued.

“You see the increase in racism, the increase in white supremacy, the increase of just the misogynist kind of rhetoric … a lot of it is really about attacking people for who they are and simply want to be.”

Harris added that she would say to those who are anti-LGBTQ+ that “it takes nothing from you to let people be”. 

“From my perspective, I will tell you the true measure of strength is not based on who you knock down. It’s based on who you lift up.”