TALLAHASSEE, FL — (02-24-22) — Florida’s Republican-controlled House of Representatives passed their discrimination bill, ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Thursday. The anti-LGBT bill would prohibit “classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity” in the state’s primary schools.

The legislation — titled the ‘Parental Rights in Education‘ bill aka “Don’t Say Gay” bill, now heads to the state’s Republican-Controlled Senate where it is expected to pass easily.

Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis who is running for re-election and is widely considered to be a potential 2024 presidential candidate, has voiced support for the legislation and is expected to sign it into law the minute the senate passes the bill.

Despite the outrage from LGBT groups, Hollywood actors, the White House and the Human Rights Council, the final vote on the bill came in at 69-47.

Speaking to legislators on the House floor, well known anti-LGBT advocate and state Rep. Joe Harding, the Republican who introduced the bill, said the measure is about “empowering parents” and improving the quality of life for the state’s children.

Harding continued to justify his discrimination stance on LGBT youth by saying…”Creating boundaries at an early age of what is appropriate in our schools, when we are funding our schools, is not hate. It’s actually providing boundaries, and it’s fair to our teachers and our school districts to know what we expect.” said Harding.

Harding continues to push the GOP talking points that the bill would not prohibit students from talking about their LGBTQ families or bar classroom discussions about LGBTQ history. And yes, he had the nerve to include events like the 2016 massacre at the Pulse Gay nightclub that resulted in the death of 49 people and 53 wounded.

In an impassioned speech on the House floor Thursday, openly gay Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith (D), told lawmakers that he purposefully wore a rainbow Pride ribbon upside down on his lapel “as a symbol that LGBTQ community in Florida is in distress.”

“We are in distress because this bill is yet another attack on our community,” said Smith. “This bill goes way beyond the text on its page. It sends a terrible message to our youth that there is something so wrong, so inappropriate, so dangerous about this topic that we have to censor it from classroom instruction.” said Smith.

Critics continue to say that the broad language in the Parental Rights in Education bill could open districts to lawsuits from parents who believe any conversation about LGBTQ people or issues to be inappropriate.

A national survey by the LGBTQ youth suicide prevention and intervention group, The Trevor Project, found that 42 percent of LGBTQ youths seriously considered attempting suicide in 2021. More than half of transgender and nonbinary youths who were surveyed seriously considered suicide, it also found.

The Trevor Project also found that LGBTQ youths who reported having at least one LGBTQ-affirming space had lower rates of attempting suicide.

No doubt that the minute Gov Ron Desantis (R) signs the bill, lawsuits will be filed in both State and Federal court.

Article by: Paul Goldberg, Staff Writer

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