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.
\u201cWhen I first heard about Florida\u2019s Parental Rights bill, I was shocked it only protects children K-3. Third grade? How about 12th grade\u2014or not at all. Meanwhile, schools are failing: 1 in 4 graduates are functionally illiterate. Parents should raise their kids, not the government\u201d
"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."
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.