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Ron DeSantis Set to Expand ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Law to All Grades in Florida

Ron DeSantis Set to Expand ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Law to All Grades in Florida

Ron DeSantis
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It comes almost a year after he signed the current "don't say gay" law.

@wgacooper

Florida’s Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis is set to move forward with restricting the discussion of LGBTQ+ topics across all grade levels in the state.

The new proposal comes about a year after he signed legislation known as the “don’t say gay” law, which banned classroom instruction about sexual orientation and gender identity up to the third grade.

Teachers, advocates, parents, and children have said the law is too vague. Some schools and educators have even stopped teaching anything related to LGBTQ+ topics for fear of being sued.

Related: Fla. Gov. DeSantis Signs Historic 'Don't Say Gay Bill,' Enabling Hate

DeSantis would not need legislative approval to pass the new measure, according to the Associated Press. The news agency notes that last month former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley said the Florida law should have gone further. Haley has announced her plans to seek the presidency in 2024, while DeSantis is heavily thought to be preparing for his own campaign.

He has continued to attack LGBTQ+ people and tread into cultural issues. Those moves seem to prime him for those on the right if he does end up running for president.

“The amendment prohibits classroom instruction to students in pre-kindergarten through grade 3 on sexual orientation or gender identity. For grades 4 through 12, instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity is prohibited,” unless it’s already required by the state standards or part of a reproductive health class that can be opted out of.

Equality Florida, an LGBTQ+ rights group in the state, said the current law has already done enough damage.

The organization has said the DeSantis administration has refused to explain what it says is "the law's vague, unconstitutional language." It also called out the law for putting legal liability on educators over the subjects.

"After a year’s worth of gaslighting and assurances that the Don’t Say LGBTQ law was narrowly focused, the DeSantis Administration is now saying the quiet part out loud: they believe that it is never appropriate to acknowledge the existence of LGBTQ people, or our contributions to society, in schools," Equality Florida said in a statement.

"The Board of Education’s proposed rule would see more books with LGBTQ characters ripped from school shelves, more discussion of diverse families muzzled, and further character assassination of hardworking teachers in Florida."

The group likened the proposal to authoritarian governments.

"Free states don’t ban books. Free states don’t censor communities out of classrooms. Free states don’t copy/paste their political agendas from the likes of Vladimir Putin. This proposed rule is yet more government power being perverted to serve Ron DeSantis’ desperation to run for President. And its consequences will weigh most heavily on those who have already been forced to bear the brunt of his insatiable lust for power," Equality Florida said.

During Wednesday’s press briefing, out Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said, “It’s wrong. It’s completely, utterly wrong.”

She added: “But make no mistake, this is part of a disturbing and dangerous trend that we’re seeing across the country of legislations that are anti-LGBTQI+, anti-trans, … in a way that we have not seen in some time.”

The proposed rule is scheduled for a vote by Florida's Board of Education on April 19 in Tallahassee.

@wgacooper
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