Gov. DeSantis signs Parental Rights in Education bill, LGBTQ groups promise lawsuit

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law the Parental Rights in Education bill on Monday, which opponents call the ”Don’t Say Gay” bill.

The legislation has captured national headlines and spurred protests across the state, but the governor argues the opposition to this legislation is misguided.

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The governor took multiple jabs at opponents of this legislation during the bill signing and said the claims that this law bans people from saying “gay” in school is simply untrue.

The bill prohibits classroom instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in grades K-3 and requires instruction on those topics to be ”age appropriate” thereafter.

Although the bill doesn’t use the word “gay,” it hasn’t stopped opponents from reinforcing the ”Don’t Say Gay” moniker they’ve bestowed on the legislation.

Oscar hosts repeated the word “gay” on stage Sunday night to send a message to Florida.

Less than 24 hours later, the bill was signed into law, and DeSantis fired back at the celebrity hosts.

“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,” said DeSantis.

The governor came prepared with materials he claims have been used in elementary classes in Florida, including a poster of the ”genderbread man.”

“This is inappropriate for kindergarteners and first graders and second graders. Parents do not want this going on in their schools,” said DeSantis.

The new law is aimed at keeping curriculum on sexual orientation and gender identity “age-appropriate,” and also ensuring parents have a say in health care decisions for their children.

Mother January Littlejohn spoke as her daughter’s school began socially transitioning her gender, without Littlejohn’s consent or knowledge.

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“For the safety of our children, these parental rights violations must stop, and school districts must be held accountable,” said Littlejohn.

LGBTQ advocates argue the impact of the law goes beyond the words on the page.

State Representative Carlos Guillermo Smith (D-Orlando) said the law directly targets the LGBTQ community, pointing out other controversial topics that aren’t specifically banned by statute, like drug use and suicide.

“The visibility of two moms or two dads in a classroom of any grade is not sexualizing our children any more than the inclusion of straight and cis-gendered families is sexualizing our children,” said Smith.

Equality Florida promised swift legal action against the bill.

It’s also starting a legal defense fund to help school districts fight lawsuits filed by parents for alleged violations of the law.