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Florida Senate passes 'Don't Say Gay' bill sending it to governor's desk

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Posted at 11:55 AM, Mar 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-08 12:05:27-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The Parental Rights in Education Bill that critics call the "Don't Say Gay' bill was approved by the Florida Senate Tuesday and sent to Governor Ron DeSantis for his signature. The bill passed the Senate by a 22-17 vote.

House Bill 1557 would ban teachers in Pre-K through 3rd-grade classrooms from teaching about sexual orientation or gender identity. It would also allow parents to sue school districts if they believe the policy is violated.

The bill's sponsor believes it gives parents control and has the votes to pass. But Democrats, LGBTQ activists, and even President Joe Biden have said the bill is harmful, even dangerous, and could cause even more discrimination.

"I didn't call the bill the no gay whatever bill," Senator Dennis Baxley said. "This has all been fabricated by the media, my friend. This does one simple thing, it decides who's in charge."

The "Don’t Say Gay" bill was just one of several policies opponents were labeling as "censorship" legislation under consideration this year. They also took issue with DeSantis' goal to ban critical race theory in schools and businesses, calling the bill's language too vague, worrying it would chill race education.

A final vote is expected to be taken Tuesday, and if it passes, would next go to Governor DeSantis' desk.

Meanwhile, Equality Florida says if the bill does become law, it will look into suing the state of Florida if they feel the bill "endangers a single child, silences a single teacher or negatively impacts a single family."

To read the bill in its entirety, click here.