DeSantis Signs 'Don't Say Gay' Bill, Takes Swing at Hollywood

It will go into effect July 1
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 28, 2022 12:45 PM CDT
'Don't Say Gay' Bill Gets Governor's Signature
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), Feb. 24, 2022, in Orlando, Fla.   (AP Photo/John Raoux, file)

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill on Monday that forbids instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten through third grade, a policy that has drawn intense national scrutiny from critics who argue it marginalizes LGBTQ people. The legislation has pushed Florida and DeSantis, an ascending Republican, to the forefront of the country's culture wars, with LGBTQ advocates, students, Democrats, the entertainment industry, and the White House denouncing what critics have called the "Don't Say Gay" bill. The Tampa Bay Times notes the bill, officially the "Parental Rights in Education" bill, will go into effect July 1.

"We will make sure that parents can send their kids to school to get an education, not an indoctrination," DeSantis said before he signed the bill into law. He and other speakers stood at a podium affixed with a placard reading Protect Children/Support Parents. He also noted the outcry against the bill from Hollywood—it was referenced several times at Sunday night's Academy Awards, per CBS12. Fox News has his lines: "If the people who held up degenerates like Harvey Weinstein as exemplars and as heroes and as all that, if those are the types of people that are opposing us on parents’ rights, I wear that like a badge of honor. They don't want to admit that they support a lot of the things that we're providing protections against."

DeSantis and Republicans have repeatedly said the measure is reasonable and that parents, not teachers, should be broaching subjects of sexual orientation and gender identity with their children, reports the AP. Critics say the bill is so vaguely worded that speech could be muzzled throughout public schools. The bill states: "Classroom instruction by school personnel or third parties on sexual orientation or gender identity may not occur in kindergarten through grade 3 or in a manner that is not age appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards." Parents would be able to sue districts over violations.

(Read more Ron DeSantis stories.)

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