Florida’s House of Representatives passed the controversial ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill by a vote of 69-47 on 24 February. The legislation, which is officially called the Parental Rights in Education bill, seeks to restrict “classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity” in primary schools.
LGBTQ+ activists are fearful that it could totally limit any discussions or lessons on identity, the community’s history and the oppression it has faced – prompting its ‘Don’t Say Gay’ nickname.
Rep. Joe Harding, the Republican who introduced the bill, told lawmakers on the House floor that it exists to create “boundaries at an early age”. “Creating boundaries at an early age of what is appropriate in our schools, when we are funding our schools, is not hate,” he claimed. “It’s actually providing boundaries, and it’s fair to our teachers and our school districts to know what we expect.” Seven Republicans crossed party lines to join Democrats in opposing the legislation, resulting in a vote of 69 in favour and 47 against.
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