Florida plans to bring Ron DeSantis’ Don’t Say Gay law to workplaces
Florida is planning to expand its much-reviled ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law to ban preferred pronouns and other LGBTQ+ rights in workplaces.
A bill sponsored by Florida state Republican Ryan Chamberlain was introduced on Tuesday (21 November) with the sole purpose of banning workplaces from using the preferred pronouns of their colleagues.
It would also prohibit penalisation of employees who act on the “basis of deeply held religious or biology-based beliefs.”
The bill also clarifies the “policy of the state” by declaring that a person’s sex is an “immutable biological trait” and that supporters of the bill would deem it “false to ascribe to a person a pronoun that does not correspond to such person’s sex.”
It would also ban LGBTQ+ nonprofits in Florida with its clauses by rescinding state funds for organisations whose employees undergo sexual orientation and gender identity sensitivity training.
Equality Florida, an LGBTQ+ nonprofit working in the state, called the bill an “alarming escalation” of right-wing extremism.
“It would impose unprecedented government control over the work of nonprofits disfavoured by the DeSantis administration and goes far beyond its proposed regulation of pronouns to aggressively target the rights of transgender government employees to simply exist as themselves,” a statement from the nonprofit continued.
The bill follows on from the already passed ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law, which state governor, Ron DeSantis, signed into law in March 2022.
Don’t Say Gay expansion ‘horrifiying’
The law originally prohibited elementary school teachers in public schools from discussing subjects relating to sexual orientation or gender identity, but was later extended to cover education beyond high school.
Aside from targeting trans and non-binary people in the state, the bill and its respective expansion were heavily criticised for their vague wording, which could even apply to pantomime and Shakespearean plays.
If passed, Chamberlain’s Florida bill would extend those laws further to effectively ban all forms of training on sexual orientation or gender identity in the state.
Harvard law instructor and activist, Alejandra Caraballo, said the legislation is “horrifying” in a social media post highlighting the more shocking clauses of the bill.
“It would ban LGBTQ+ community clinics from discussing LGBTQ+ identities. It is a blatant violation of the First Amendment.”
Caraballo continued that the bill is also incredibly vague in the phrasing of its laws, saying: “Just like the original ‘Don’t Say Gay’, they make vague terms with large penalties to chill speech.
“The intent is clear though, to eradicate LGBTQ+ people from public life.”
While DeSantis has not yet commented on his opinion on the law, his infamously anti-LGBTQ+ track record proves he would be likely to sign the law if it were to pass.
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