Former U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard posted a video message to social media saying the Florida “don’t say gay” bill signed into law by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis last month doesn’t go far enough in censoring the discussion of sexuality and gender identity in public schools.
“But as I read the legislation, I gotta tell you, I was shocked to learn that it only protects kids from kindergarten till third grade,” Gabbard said in her video message. “Third grade? What about 12th grade or not at all?”
The former U.S. Representative from Hawaii and candidate for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination expressed strong support for the new law, while also disparaging what she called “indoctrinating woke sexual values in our schools” and characterized students as “a captive audience” required to attend by law.
“Now, government has no place in our personal lives, government has no place in our bedrooms,” Gabbard continued. “Parents are the ones responsible for raising their kids and instilling in them a moral foundation, not the government.”
The Parental Rights in Education Law was signed by Gov. DeSantis last month and is set to go into effect July 1. It regulates the classroom discussion of sexuality and gender identity with elementary students. The law has been met with fierce criticism from those saying it would deny much-needed help and support to LGBTQ+ youth.
It remains to be seen whether the law ever takes effect, as lawyers with the National Center for Lesbian Rights and the firm of Kaplan Hecker & Fink LLP filed a lawsuit last week in a federal court against what the NCLR called a “blatantly unconstitutional law” in a press release.
Gabbard has a problematic history on LGBTQ+ people. On her way out of Congress in 2020, she sponsored an anti-trans bill. She was a state legislator in 2004 when she denounced “homosexual extremists,” who, she said, were falsely claiming there was a difference between civil unions and same-sex marriage. Hawaii was considering civil union legislation at the time. She also used the phrase to describe opponents of her father, Mike Gabbard, who ran an organization that worked against marriage equality and other LGBTQ+ causes and reportedly endorsed conversion therapy.