One of the nation’s first out lesbian governors has ripped into another governor for his anti-LGBTQ+ and racist actions.
Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey, interviewed Thursday on Boston Public Radio, said Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is seeking to take the U.S. “backwards” with his state’s “don’t say gay” and Stop WOKE laws, and his rejection of a course on African American history.
“This whole ‘don’t say gay’ nonsense, his positions around education, the canceling of coursework on African American history,” Healey said during the interview, according to the Boston Herald. “I think it’s really shameful, and it certainly does a disservice to the residents of Florida, ultimately.”
The “don’t say gay” law, officially titled Parental Rights in Education, bans instruction in public schools on sexual orientation and gender identity in grades K-3 and stipulates that it be “age-appropriate” thereafter. Opponents say it further marginalizes LGBTQ+ students, teachers, and families.
When Healey, a Democrat, was attorney general of Massachusetts before being elected governor last year, she and several other state AGs filed a friend-of-the-court brief challenging the law, which took effect July 1 after being signed by DeSantis, a Republican with presidential ambitions.
On the radio show, she talked about her commitment to diversity and inclusivity. She has the “most diverse cabinet in history,” she said, contrasting her position to the disdain “by the likes of Ron DeSantis and others for the members of the LGBTQ community.”
She also critiqued DeSantis’s stances on race. The Florida Department of Education recently rejected an advanced placement course in African American studies. DeSantis objected it its inclusion of queer theory and said it violated the state’s Stop WOKE Act, which bans the discussion of anything that might make white and straight students uncomfortable.
“Black history is American history,” Healey said in the interview. “We are going to be proud and grateful to our Black community here in Massachusetts and find ways to celebrate and support.”
She said her state is serious about “democracy and civil rights and protecting freedoms … and that’s what we will continue to live by and aspire to in the face of some out there who want to take us backwards, and that includes the likes of Gov. DeSantis.”