DeSantis signs the Don’t Say Gay Act, banning gender education for children
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed legislation Monday banning discussion of gender identity and sexual orientation for children in kindergarten through third grade.
The legislation, which was formally announced at a news conference in Tallahassee, also bans material for older Florida students that could be considered developmentally or age inappropriate.
“Teaching by school staff or third parties about sexual orientation or gender identity shall not be conducted in kindergarten through 3rd grade, or in a manner that is not age- or developmentally appropriate for students according to state standards,” the bill reads.
DeSantis has argued that the material should not be given to children between the ages of 4 and 8 and that even in higher grades parents should have the opportunity to object to certain issues.
“This is unsuitable for kindergarten kids and first graders and second graders. Parents don’t want this to happen in their schools,” DeSantis said Monday.
Critics of the law called it an attack on the LGBTQ community and branded it a “Don’t Say Gay” law.
The divisive legislation has sparked resistance from some Florida students, who walked out of classes in protest earlier this month.
Hollywood has led the charge against the bill — with Amy Schumer, Regina Hall and Wanda Sykes mocking DeSantis at Sunday night’s Oscars.
“We’re going to have a great night tonight,” Sykes said. “And for you folks in Florida, we’re going to have a gay night.”
The trio then sang “gay” to punctuate the point while the audience cheered.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tweeted her opposition after DeSantis signed the bill into law Monday.
“This cruel legislation is an affront to our nation’s cherished values and sends a harmful message to our children,” she wrote.
President Biden also filed his objection and named him “hateful” in a February tweet.
DeSantis addressed Monday’s attack on the Academy Awards, arguing that he wears film industry opposition as a “badge of honor.” He is considered a potential Republican presidential nominee in 2024.
“I don’t care what the media companies say, I don’t care what Hollywood says, I don’t care what big companies say,” DeSantis said. “Here I stand. I’m not backing down.”
The bill also gives parents the right to review school health questionnaires before they are given to students.