Ron DeSantis, the Republican governor of Florida, has signed a bill banning instruction about LGBTQ+ issues in kindergarten to 3rd-grade classrooms.
HB 1557, also known as the Parental Rights in Education Act, was signed into law on Monday following weeks of backlash from critics who have called the legislation the "Don't Say Gay Bill."
"In Florida, we not only know that parents have a right to be involved, we insist that parents have a right to be involved," DeSantis said during a press conference in Holly Hill, Florida.
"For example, they support sexualizing kids in kindergarten. They support injecting woke gender ideology into second-grade classrooms," he noted. "And so what they're doing with these slogans and these narratives is they are trying to camouflage their true intentions."
Under the new law, classroom instruction on sexual orientation and sexual identity for kindergarten through third-grade students is now banned.
As reported by the Floridian Press, the bill's signing was met with criticism from Democratic lawmakers, including Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, one of the bill's most outspoken opponents.
"I'm not saying #DeSantis is a homophobe – I'm simply saying the homophobes think he's a homophobe. And he wants their vote … not just in FL, but across the country in a GOP presidential primary. That's why he signed #DontSayGay. Not to help Floridians, but to help himself," Smith, who is gay, tweeted on Monday.
I'm not saying #DeSantis is a homophobe-- I'm simply saying the homophones think he’s a homophobe.— Rep. Carlos G Smith (@CarlosGSmith) March 28, 2022
And he wants 𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙞𝙧 vote…not just in FL, but across the country in a GOP Presidential primary.
That’s why he signed #DontSayGay.
Not to help Floridians, but to help himself. pic.twitter.com/GK3o3IxTOI
In another post, he asked, "Is anyone going to ask the Governor about his office's bigoted smear campaign to attack and defame LGBTQ Floridians with baseless accusations of grooming and pedophilia or nah?"
Is anyone going to ask the Governor about his office's bigoted smear campaign to attack and defame LGBTQ Floridians with baseless accusations of grooming and pedophilia or nah?#SayGayAnyway— Rep. Carlos G Smith (@CarlosGSmith) March 28, 2022
Disney, which recently came out in opposition to the legislation, is planning to help repeal the law in support of the LGBTQ+ community.
"Florida's HB 1557, also known as the 'Don't Say Gay' bill, should never have passed and should never have been signed into law," a Disney spokesperson said in a statement on Monday.
"Our goal as a company is for this law to be repealed by the legislature or struck down in the courts, and we remain committed to supporting the national and state organizations working to achieve that. We are dedicated to standing up for the rights and safety of LGBTQ+ members of the Disney family, as well as the LGBTQ+ community in Florida and across the country."
Days earlier, DeSantis signed another bill requiring state school districts to be transparent with parents about what is in their children's curriculum.
Both bills are scheduled to go into effect on July 1, 2022.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis Signs Bill Requiring Curriculum Transparency
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Joe Raedle/Staff
Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer and content creator. He is a contributing writer for Christian Headlines and the host of the For Your Soul Podcast, a podcast devoted to sound doctrine and biblical truth. He holds a Masters of Divinity from Alliance Theological Seminary.