Tánaiste responds to US crackdown on LGBTQ+ rights as Florida plans to expand Don't Say Gay law

Micheál Martin said he was "deeply concerned" about the global pushback against LGBTQ+ rights.

Tánaiste Micheál Martin, who recently address the US crackdown on LGBTQ+ rights, speaking to the public while standing in front of a green background with the word Ireland.
Image: Twitter - @MichealMartinTD

Tánaiste Micheál Martin recently responded to a question posed in the Dáil about the safety and protection of Irish citizens living or travelling to the US amid the current crackdown on LGBTQ+ rights. Since the beginning of the year, Republicans all over America have introduced anti-LGBTQ+ legislation, with one of the latest developments seeing Florida trying to expand its infamous ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law.

According to the latest reports, state lawmakers in the US have introduced more anti-LGBTQ+ bills in 2023 than they have in the past five years, in what has been described as a “war against LGBTQ+ people in America”. The bills include, among others, bans on gender-affirming healthcare for trans youth, restrictions to students learning about LGBTQ+ subjects in schools and limitations to drag performances.

This situation prompted TD Cian O’Callaghan to ask Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin about the safety of Irish LGBTQ+ citizens who live in or visit the US. Martin responded to the question, saying: “Promoting respect for human rights is one of the core principles of Ireland’s foreign policy. This includes respect for the human rights of those who identify as LGBTI+.”

He went on to say that he was “deeply concerned by the alarming and accelerating global pushback on LGBTI+ rights” and stated that “Ireland’s Embassy and Consulates-General provide consular support to Irish citizens visiting and living in the United States and, in this regard, closely monitor the legislative landscape at the state and federal levels for potential impact on Irish people resident or visiting.”

The Minister added that he was aware that “certain state legislatures have recently introduced bills which would, if enacted, undermine the rights of LGBTI+ people,” and said: “My Department is actively monitoring developments and will provide assistance and support to Irish citizens who need it.”


Some of these harmful anti-LGBTQ+ bills have already become law in parts of the US, such as Florida, where the so-called ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill was signed into law by Governor Ron DeSantis in March 2022. The legislation currently bans classroom instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity in kindergarten through third grade, but the Republican-led state legislature plans to expand its scope to all school grades.

The expansion has already been approved by Florida’s Department of Education and will be voted on by the country’s Board of Education on April 19. If approved, it will prohibit teachers from discussing LGBTQ+ issues and identities with students through to their final year in high school.

The move comes as DeSantis prepares for his expected presidential bid, which will bring him face-to-face with former president Donald Trump for the Republican nomination. The Florida Governor’s politics focus on carrying on a battle against a supposed “woke” ideology and have infringed on LGBTQ+ rights on multiple occasions.

“Everything he does is about what can further his own career ambitions,” said Brandon Wolf, press secretary of the LGBTQ+ group Equality Florida. “And it’s clear he sees the anti-LGBTQ movement as his vehicle to get him where he wants to go.”

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