Florida’s Republican governor Ron DeSantis signed into law Monday a controversial bill that would ban LGBTQ+ content in the state’s primary school classrooms.
The Parental Rights in Education Bill, dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill by critics, bans the teaching of content related to sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten through third grade classrooms. It passed by partisan vote in both the Florida House and Senate earlier this year.
In addition to banning LGBTQ+ content, the bill also allows parents to take legal action against any school that violates the law.
Supporters of the bill argue that it gives parents more control over their children’s education. Opponents claim that it will cut off LGBTQ+ youth, who already face stigmatization due to their sexual orientation and gender identities, from much needed resources.
DeSantis signed the bill into law at a press conference in Spring Hill, just north of Tampa, on Monday. DeSantis spoke in support of the bill, claiming that it was a necessary step to ensure parents have some control over their children’s education.
“We’ve seen libraries that have clearly inappropriate pornographic materials for very young kids, and we’ve seen services that were given to students without the consent or even knowledge of their parents across the country, and unfortunately, that’s happened here in the state of Florida,” he said.
He added, “We insist that parents have a right to be involved.”
President Biden, who has spoken out against the bill, shot back with a post on Twitter, writing, “Every student deserves to feel safe and welcome in the classroom. Our LGBTQI+ youth deserve to be affirmed and accepted just as they are. My Administration will continue to fight for dignity and opportunity for every student and family – in Florida and around the country.”
Every student deserves to feel safe and welcome in the classroom. Our LGBTQI+ youth deserve to be affirmed and accepted just as they are. My Administration will continue to fight for dignity and opportunity for every student and family — in Florida and around the country.
— President Biden (@POTUS) March 28, 2022
The Florida bill is one of numerous anti-LGBTQ+ laws that have cropped up in state legislatures across the country in the past few years. Lawmakers in other states, including Texas, Mississippi, and Tennessee, have also sought restrictions on LGBTQ+ content in schools and libraries.