Florida House of Representatives Passes ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill

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Hansjörg Keller

The Florida Senate plans to meet later this month to discuss HB-1557, also known as the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill. Photo courtesy of Hansjörg Keller.

Sarah Wollney, Reporter

Florida’s House of Representatives passed the Parental Rights in Education bill (HB-1557), also known as the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill, on Thursday in a 69-47 vote. The bill is to be considered in the Florida state senate, where it is expected to pass, later this month. 

If passed, the Don’t Say Gay bill would forbid students third grade and under as well as any grade where it is deemed ‘inappropriate’ to be taught about gender and sexual orientation. Schools would also be required to reveal the sexual identity of the students to their parents within a 6-week time period as soon as they became aware of it. The original bill was designed to forbid schools from creating any policies that would ‘withhold from a parent information about his or her student’s mental, emotional, or physical health or well-being.’ However, there are certain restrictions to the new bill, such as that schools would not have to tell the student’s guardian if the student was in danger of abandonment or abuse.

“Schools should avoid entirely inappropriate topics and instead be teaching science, history, civics, and other lessons,” Florida Governor  Ron DeSantis said. “Parents must have a seat at the table when it comes to what’s going on in their schools.”

Assuming that the Florida State Senate passes HB-1557 within the next few weeks, Governor DeSantis is expected to sign it shortly after. If passed these changes would go into effect July 1 and start in the 2022-23 school year.