Ron DeSantis appoints hate group Moms for Liberty co-founder to Florida ethics commission

Side by side images of Florida governor Ron DeSantis and Tina Descovich, a co-founder of anti-LGBTQ+ group Moms for Liberty, standing at podiums

Ron DeSantis has appointed Tina Descovich, a co-founder of Southern Poverty Law Center-designated hate group Moms for Liberty, to the Florida Commission on Ethics

DeSantis announced Descovich’s appointment to the prominent commission on Wednesday (6 September). The appointment is still subject to confirmation by Florida’s Republican-led Senate.

The nine-member panel is responsible for weighing complaints and investigating alleged breaches of public trust against elected and appointed officials as well as state employees. 

Descovich wrote on X, formally known as Twitter, that it will be a “privilege to serve the state [she loves] as a member of this commission”. 

However, Alejandra Caraballo, an LGBTQ+ rights advocate and civil rights attorney, warned that Descovich’s appointment was dangerous because she would “be able to investigate LGBTQ state employees and allies and systematically remove them from state government”.

Descovich, who previously served on Brevard’s school board from 2016 to 2020, founded Moms for Liberty with Tiffany Justice in 2021 to “stand up for parental rights at all levels of government”, according to the group’s website. 

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The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) labelled Moms for Liberty an “extremist group” because of its opposition to LGBTQ+ issues, advocacy for book bans and work against racially inclusive curriculums in schools

“Moms for Liberty activities make it clear that the group’s primary goals are to fuel right-wing hysteria and to make the world a less comfortable or safe place for certain students – primarily those who are Black, LGBTQ or who come from LGBTQ families,” the SPLC’s 2022 Year in Hate and Extremism report stated

The Florida-based group – which has chapters around the US – helped develop the state’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law and publicly advocated in favour of the legislation, which bans discussions of LGBTQ+ topics in schools. 

In July 2022, Moms for Liberty’s Twitter (now X) account was temporarily suspended for violating the social media platform’s rule against hateful conduct with a post criticising California’s gender-affirming healthcare bill

The post claimed that gender dysphoria is a “mental health disorder” and that “California kids are at extreme risk from predatory adults”. 

Moms for Liberty also alleged on social media that “CRT” (critical race theory) and “gender ideology” are “toxic for children”. In another post, the group claimed that “gender identity indoctrination” is “one of the most dangerous threats facing children in America today”. 

Moms for Liberty has also been tied to other far-right organisations, and members have allegedly waged campaigns of harassment against school boards or rival parent groups.

In one interview, a Moms for Liberty member said LGBTQ+ kids should be placed in separate classrooms “like children with autism or Down’s syndrome”.

The American Historical Association also has condemned Moms for Liberty’s ‘vigorous’ advocacy of “censorship and harassment of history teachers, banning history books from libraries and classrooms and legislation that renders it impossible for historians to teach with professional integrity without risking job loss and other penalties”. 

The Committee on LGBTQ History said the right-wing group “consistently spreads harmful, hateful rhetoric about the LGBTQIA+ community, including popularising the use of the term ‘groomer’ to refer to queer people and attacking the mere existence of trans youth”. 

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