Just as HB 1557, the Parental Rights in Education measure was sponsored byRep. Joe Harding (R), appears to be on a course to receive a floor vote in the Florida House of Representatives, LGBTQ activists around the state, and Progressive Democrats in the legislature have taken a stand against the "Don't say gay" measure.
Led by Democratic Socialist Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, activists, and media outlets have dubbed the parental rights bill the “Don’t Say Gay” bill in the Florida Legislature.
President Joe Biden and his administration have come out to condemn Rep. Harding’s legislation, calling it “hateful,” and according to Rep. Smith, it “erases” the identities of minor children.
“The #DontSayGay bill pushed by Gov. #DeSantis censors school conversations about LGBTQ people, erases our identities and puts our kids at risk. This is NOT what happens in FREE states— it’s what happens under authoritarian regimes,” tweeted Rep. Smith.
Rep. Harding recently showed and explained to The Floridian the alleged controversial text in his bill or the child identity-erasing language that Rep. Smith and other activists have taken issue with, which could not be found.
“A school district may not encourage classroom discussion about sexually orientation or gender identity in primary grade levels or in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students,” states HB 1557
According to the Florida Department of Education, the definition of “primary grade levels” is Kindergarten through 3rd grade, or K-3.
The president and his team decided to distort the truth and outright lie about my bill that empowers parents. Here is my response. @POTUS @PressSec pic.twitter.com/Huo0RNNxBE
— Joe Harding (@josephbharding) February 9, 2022
Harding posted a video responding to White House Spokeswoman Jen Psaki’s recent comments condemning the legislative measure, saying, “I don’t think it’s controversial to empower parent.”
Harding accuses the Psaki of “distorting the facts, spreading fear.”
In response to the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, Equality Florida put out an ad showing a young girl having reservations about talking about who she feels are her two heroes, her two mothers.
🚨 ALERT 🚨 @GovRonDeSantis is fast-tracking the #DontSayGay bill, banning discussion of LGBTQ people or issues in classrooms. Help us stop the DeSantis Censorship and Surveillance State agenda.
TAKE ACTION: https://t.co/8Sdkai0WIi pic.twitter.com/UssrmRcixN
— Equality Florida (@equalityfl) February 14, 2022
The video ad does not address the specific aforementioned language of the bill, rather plays to the bigger narrative that Republicans in Florida are just anti-Gay.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has already signaled that he would support the measure.