TALLAHASSEE, FL — (02-09-22) — After nationwide outrage, the Florida Senate Education Committee passed its controversial ‘Don’t Say Gay bill‘ late Tuesday along party lines. The bill would bar school districts from encouraging classroom discussion on sexual orientation or gender identity.

The ‘Parental Rights in Education Bill’, commonly referred to as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, would apply to topics in primary grade levels, as well as in cases where the discussions are deemed “not age-appropriate.”

What’s in the Parental Rights in Education Bill

The bill, proposed by Republican State Senator and anti-LGBT advocate Dennis Baxley, would extend to student support services, including counseling, and would require school district personnel to give parents all information related to a student’s “mental, emotional or physical health or well-being,” unless it’s believed that such disclosure would result in abuse. Parents would be able to sue districts that do not follow these requirements.

The bill would also give parents the ability to sue schools if they believed the schools violated any provisions of the law.

“I want every member of the LGBTQI+ community — especially the kids who will be impacted by this hateful bill — to know that you are loved and accepted just as you are,” president Biden tweeted on Tuesday. “I have your back, and my Administration will continue to fight for the protections and safety you deserve.”

Equality Florida which advocates for ending discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity said the bill was “dangerous” and accused lawmakers of targeting LGBTQ young people.

“This legislation is meant to stigmatize LGBTQ people, isolate LGBTQ kids, and make teachers fearful of providing a safe, inclusive classroom,” the group said in a statement. “The existence of LGBTQ students and parents is not a taboo topic that has to be regulated by the Florida Legislature.”

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis voiced his support for the GOP’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill on Monday. But will he sign it or simply leave it sitting on his desk until he knows if it will or will not damage his standing among moderate Republicans.

Article by: Paul Goldberg, Staff Writer

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