An LGBTQ+ advocacy group in Florida has sued Governor Ron DeSantis after he signed the highly problematic ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill on Tuesday 29 March.
We're proud to represent our extraordinary plaintiffs in challenging Florida’s discriminatory and unconstitutional #DontSayGay law.
— Kaplan Hecker & Fink LLP (@KaplanHecker) March 31, 2022
The lawsuit has been filed in a federal court in Tallahassee by the National Centre for Lesbian Rights on behalf of Equality Florida and Family Equality.
They each believe that the new law is a violation of the First Amendment rights to free expression and other provisions of the United States Constitution.
In a statement announcing their proceedings against the Governor, the LGBTQ+ group says that “This effort to control young minds through state censorship — and to demean LGBTQ lives by denying their reality — is a grave abuse of power.”
The case also states that “The United States Supreme Court has repeatedly affirmed that LGBTQ people and their families are at home in our constitutional order. The State of Florida has no right to declare them outcasts, or to treat their allies as outlaws, by punishing schools where someone dares to affirm their identity and dignity.”
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In addition to this, the lawsuit includes statements from parents affected by the bill, including this emotional one from Dan and Brent VanTice: “Already, our children have told us that they are afraid that they will not be able to talk about their parents at school. We are heartbroken that our children are already feeling isolated and stigmatised by this law.”
The ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill states that “Classroom instruction by school personnel or third parties on sexual orientation or gender identity may not occur in kindergarten through grade 3 or in a manner that is not age appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards.”
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Gov DeSantis believes that his new rules are reasonable and believes that children should learn about sexual orientation and gender identity from their parents instead of the school environment.
“We will make sure that parents can send their kids to school to get an education, not an indoctrination,” said the Governor as he signed the bill into law this week.
Critics believe that the bill’s true intent is to marginalise queer people and their families, but this lawsuit by the Florida group is widely thought to be a step toward justice and equality for the LGBTQ+ community.
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