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Nicknamed the "Don't Say Gay" bill or the "Don't Say Gay or Trans" bill, the bill currently named Parental Rights in Education by its sponsors is proposed anti-LGBTQIA+ legislation currently moving through the Florida Legislature. It does not have finalized language due to this status. It has been passed in the House of Representatives, and its next stop is a vote by the full Senate. The bill aims to "reinforce the fundamental right of parents to make decisions regarding upbringing & control of their children" and enable them to take legal action against school districts. Of particular concern to the LGBTQIA+ community and its allies are the requirements regarding parental notification and consent related to counseling, and Paragraph 3, which reads: "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."

Senator Dennis Baxley (R-Sumter and parts of Lake and Marion, district 12)[note 1] is the original sponsor who introduced the bill, while Representative Joe Harding (R-Levy and part of Marion, district 22) is the sponsor in the House of Representatives. Rep. Harding co-sponsored legislation in 2021 that prohibits transgender women and girls from participating in school sports in accordance with their gender identity. Bill introducer Sen. Baxley has a lengthy history of making hateful public statements as well as sponsoring and supporting homophobic and transphobic legislation.

Overview

We call it the "Don't Say Gay" bill because it prohibits classroom instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity. But members, this bill goes way beyond the text on the page. It sends a terrible message to our youth that there is something so wrong, so inappropriate, so dangerous about this topic that we have to censor it from classroom instruction.

Representative Carlos Guillermo Smith, addressing the Florida House of Representatives on February 24, 2022

In the amended version approved by the Florida House of Representatives on February 24 and the Senate Appropriations Committee on February 28, 2022, the bill's sections and paragraphs are the following:[1]

  • Section 1:
    1. School districts must have procedures to notify parents of changes regarding their child's "mental, emotional, or physical health or well-being", which is not defined, and any services they are receiving at school. Personnel will be required to encourage children to discuss their own well-being with their parents or to help the student have that discussion. Children's health and education records may not be kept confidential from their parents.[1]
    2. School districts must not have student support forms that prohibit personnel from notifying parents about changes regarding the topics in Paragraph 1; these are again not defined. The school district may decide to withhold information "if a reasonably prudent person" would be concerned that the child could be abused, abandoned, or neglected as a result of the disclosure.[1]
    3. Literally reads: "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." (The bill does not define what is considered classroom instruction, what is age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate before or after third grade, and does not specify the applicable state standards.[1]
    4. School support services must adhere to Department of Education requirements.[1]
    5. Schools must notify parents at the beginning of every school year about each healthcare service available at the school so parents can decide if they will withhold consent or decline those services for their child.[1]
    6. Schools must provide copies of student well-being questionnaires or health screening forms for parental permission before administering them.[1]
    7. After a parent notifies a school district about their concerns regarding these topics, the school district will have 7 days to notify the school's principal (or someone they designate) of the concerns and the process for resolving them. "At a minimum", if the parent's concerns are not resolved within 30 days of notification, the school district must either resolve it or provide a statement of the reason why it is unresolved. If the concern is still not resolved, a parent may:[1]
      1. Ask the Commissioner of Education to initiate a legal investigation by a special magistrate. Any associated fees will be charged to the school district.[1]
      2. Sue the school district and potentially be awarded damages, attorney fees, and court costs.[1]
  • Section 2: The Department of Education would have one year to review and update standards and policies for school counselors, educators, and other student services personnel in accordance with this bill.[1]
  • Section 3: If passed and signed, the effective date will be July 1, 2022.[1]

Section 1, Paragraph 3 has received the heaviest criticism. In the original filings, it read:

"A school district may not encourage classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity in primary grade levels or in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students."[2][3]

Compare with the engrossed version, emphasis added for changed text:

"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."[1]

History

Background

Actions by the bill sponsors

Senator Dennis Baxley (R-Sumter and parts of Lake and Marion, district 12), who introduced this bill (SB 1834) and is its sponsor in the Senate, has a history of sponsoring and supporting anti-LGBTQ+ legislation while opposing legislation that promotes LGBTQIA+ rights. He was first elected to the state legislature in 2000.[note 2]

As a member of the House of Representatives in 2015, Baxley apologized and changed his vote after initially supporting an adoption bill that included an official repeal of a ban on adoption by same-sex couples; his prior vote was a "mistake" and changed it to oppose. He claimed on a talk show, "I don't want to discriminate on somebody. I'm not phobic, but I simply can't affirm homosexuality." He further said that what he originally saw as a great adoption bill "had really become the gay bill, and at that point it was an affirmation of homosexuality for which many of us under our biblical teachings simply can't be there."[4] Baxley supported the 2016 "Pastor Protection Act" allowing religious organizations to refuse involvement in weddings that violate their religious beliefs and argued, "There is a persecuted class here. There is a discrimination. There is a war, a battle, an assault going on, on the traditional family. […] If there's anybody under assault and discrimination, I'll tell you who it is: It's anyone who holds a biblical world view. We're called haters."[5]

In the 2020 legislative session, Senator Baxley sponsored the failed SB 1864: Vulnerable Child Protection Act that would have criminalized health care providers who provide gender affirming services to minors.[6] In 2021, he opposed a bill that would have banned the use of the "panic defense" to justify a defendant's assault of someone else based on "panic" over their perceived gay or transgender status. In his opposition, Baxley said, "It's pretty much a position that, you know, if you're the transgender or gay person, then you have special protections and rights, and if you don't, you're not. I'm just for equal rights for everybody, you know, liberty and justice for all β€” and not special groups get special treatments."[7] On the 2021 Transgender Day of Visibility, Baxley argued in favor of the bill that became the "Fairness in Women's Sports Act" to ban transgender girls and women from playing sports in alignment with their gender identity. In support of the bill, he said, "You can't make the facts move for someone. I can stand out here in the garage all day, convinced that I am an automobile. But, it doesn't make me an automobile. At the end of the day, it gives me a very confused life."[8]

Representative Joe Harding (R-Levy and part of Marion, district 22), who is in his first term of office and is sponsoring the House of Representatives version of this bill (HB 1557),[9] was previously a co-sponsor of the anti-trans "Fairness in Women's Sports Act".[10] He also co-sponsored the Parents' Bill of Rights,[11] which drew objections and concerns from LGBTQIA+ advocates that it could potentially require schools to break student/counselor confidentiality and "out" children to their parents. Lakey Love[note 3] of the Florida Coalition for Trans Liberation said of that bill: "This is a direct attack on transgender and gender-nonconforming Floridians, and the LGBTQ youth in particular."[12]

The DeSantis administration

During Pride month, Governor Ron DeSantis signed the anti-trans sports act on June 1, 2021, followed by a June 2 veto of $900,000 from the 2021 state budget that would have supported LGBTQIA+ people. Prior to his veto, $150,000 would have been allocated to the LGBT+ Center Orlando's Orlando United Assistance Center to provide counseling and case management services for survivors and immediate family members of the 49 victims murdered in the Pulse tragedy.[13] A federal lawsuit has been filed against the anti-trans sports act, citing violations of privacy and Title IX. Under the act, trans men and boys may choose to play on men's or women's sports teams.[14]

An anti-bullying portal on Florida's Department of Education (DOE) website was created under the 2018 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act. Among other topics, the portal included a page addressing the bullying of LGBTQIA+ youth. However, the DOE removed the portal in December 2021 after a right-leaning online publication sparked a content review.[15] Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried subsequently announced that LGBTQIA+ resources would be hosted on the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services website.[16]

Ongoing litigation

A staff analysis of HB 1557 cited ongoing litigation in Leon County alleging that the school district withheld information from parents about their child's (social) gender transition at school[17] in violation of the Parents' Bill of Rights, which was not in effect at the time of the alleged incidents. The mother,[18] January Littlejohn,[19] emailed a math teacher in August 2020; emails with the teacher are in the public record due to state laws. She said that the parents had found a counselor to address their child's gender identity. The child had been experiencing gender dysphoria since spring 2020 and had since asked to use they/them pronouns and another name. Littlejohn expressed in emails that the teacher could determine what was best and that she would let her child take the lead. However, the parents subsequently alleged that they did not give consent for the school to become involved; school officials maintain that a parent gave permission. The parents want the Leon County School District to change its LGBTQ guide and support forms and pay damages to them. The lawsuit was filed by The Child & Parental Rights Campaign, which "was founded to respond to a radical new ideology overtaking families and threatening the well-being of children and the fundamental right of parents", in October 2021.[18]

The Child & Parental Rights Campaign also filed a federal lawsuit on January 24, 2022, on behalf of Wendell and Maria Perez against Clay County District Schools. The Perezes alleged that school officials concealed from them and did not ask for their consent before providing counseling to their 12-year-old child to address gender dysphoria. Allegedly, they were not told until after the child made the first of two suicide attempts at the school,[20] an elementary school, that their child had been receiving counseling for a few months. The parents claimed in the media that the reason given by the school counselor for withholding information was "that they knew we as parents would not be in agreement because of our Catholic Christian beliefs". They alleged that the counselor told them their child had not wanted their involvement, knowing that they would not accept their child's name and pronoun changes due to their religious beliefs.[21] The Perezes claimed that the counselor "groomed" their child to be another gender and that school officials and the counselor "precipitated a pattern of bullying" in referring to their child with male pronouns and a "fictitious" male name in front of other students.[20] The child received in-patient treatment from a behavioral health unit following the suicide attempts.[21]

Clay County District Schools gave a statement to First Coast News that they had not been served with any legal process and cannot comment on any pleadings filed. It also stated: "The district has performed a thorough and complete investigation into this matter as it was presented to us and has determined that the allegations made by this out-of-state organization are completely false, fabricated, and appear to be intended solely for the purpose of inciting the public." First Coast News linked the focus of the lawsuit with the focus of HB 1557.[21]

Bill history

In the Florida Senate, SB 1834 was filed on January 7, 2022 by sponsor Senator Dennis Baxley.[22] The identical HB 1557 was filed in the Florida House of Representatives on January 11, 2022 by Representative Joe Harding. It has the following co-sponsors: David Borrero (R-parts of Broward, Collier, and Miami-Dade, district 105), Chris Latvala (R-part of Pinellas, district 67), Randall Scott "Randy" Maggard (R-part of Pasco, district 38), and John Synder (R-parts of Martin and Palm Beach, district 82).[9]

January 20, House Education & Employment Committee

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February 8, Senate Education Committee

During its hearing in the Senate Education Committee on February 8, Sen. Baxley argued that teachers are engaging in "social engineering" and attempting to "move agendas" rather than teaching basic skills. According to him, "I think when you start opening sexual type discussions with children, you're entering a very dangerous zone." One example given of what would violate the Senate bill was a hypothetical math problem that included two moms or two dads; Baxley called that example "exactly where the problem is". The bill was found favorable by the committee 6-3 on party lines.[23]

February 17, House Judiciary Committee

On February 17, the House Judiciary Committee approved a committee substitute[note 4] 13-7 along party lines. During the hearing, Representative Harding argued that his bill was necessary because classrooms should focus on reading, math, and "the basics". He objected to the "Don't Say Gay" nicknaming of the bill because his bill does not specifically ban saying the word. Various proponents of the bill made anti-LGBTQ+ comments as reasons for supporting the bill. Rep. Mike Beltran (R-part of Hillsborough, district 57) argued that "these sorts of things" are not appropriate to discuss at school in third grade or younger but may be appropriate at home "if you're a same-sex household or your child may be LGBT or something like that". He specifically refused to believe that any children in third grade or younger has ever died by suicide or might do so if they had not learned about "these sorts of things". Rep. Scott Plakon (R-part of Seminole, district 29) argued on the subject of "a movement" supporting LGBTQIA+ people, "Is it ridiculous that parents would be concerned about this movement targeting their children? I don't think that's a ridiculous concern. And I don't think anybody could agree that parents shouldn't have the right to be concerned about that."[24]

Representative Mike Grieco (D-part of Miami-Dade, district 113), speaking in debate to oppose the bill, responded to the anti-LGBTQ+ remarks, "I am very concerned based upon some of the folks that I've heard from today, that there are certain areas in Florida that think that it is never age-appropriate to talk about gender identity or sexual orientation, regardless as to what arbitrary definition you place on those two terms." Rep. Fentrice Driskell (D-part of Hillsborough, district 63) noted, "Whatever you intended this bill to be, it is not that anymore. It's very clear that the proponents of this bill believe in anti-gay rhetoric. It's suppressive. I'm concerned even with the plain text of the bill; it has problems. We couldn't get a straight answer β€” pun intended β€” on the definition of sexual orientation."[24]

February 22, House Special Order Calendar

At what point do the rights of a parent end and do the rights of a child begin? When we develop policies that prioritize parental rights at all costs, including at the expense of our students and our kids, and their well-being, there are consequences. […] It lets folks sue the school if they think any conversation about LGBTQ people is not age appropriate. Listen, this is pandering to the lowest common denominator. This bill is a dream for trial lawyers.

Representative Carlos Guillermo Smith, addressing the Florida House of Representatives on February 22, 2022

Prior to the third reading of the entire bill, multiple proposed amendments for CS/CS/HB 1557 were considered as part of the Special Order Calendar for February 22. The full House of Representatives convened to consider amendments, rather than the entire bill, within strict time limits for questions-and-answers and debate. The debate manager assigned to the "Pro" side was Rep. Michael Grant (R-Charlotte, district 75), and Rep. Matt Willhite (D-part of Palm Beach, district 86) for "Con".[25] Harding initially submitted, then withdrew prior to the session, an amendment that would have required schools to inform parents within six weeks if a child has come out to school personnel, regardless of any concerns about abuse, abandonment, or neglect. He denied that his amendment would have required outing students to their parents. In the session, he also claimed that the bill does not target any specific gender or sexual orientation.[26]

Amendments that were considered on the floor:

ID Filed by Details
01. 884605 Rep. Kristen Arrington (D-part of Osceola, district 43) Failed.[27] For paragraph 1, proposed inserting after current text "safe and supportive learning environment for the student" new text: "regardless of their race, color, ethnicity, national origin, sex, gender, gender identity, sexual identity, or disability."[28]
02. 784679 Rep. Tracie Davis (D-part of Duval, district 13) Failed.[27] For paragraph 1, proposed adding at the end new text: "This paragraph does not limit or alter any obligation of school district personnel to report suspected abuse, abandonment, or neglect, as those terms are defined in s. 39.01."[29]
03. 178971 Rep. Angela "Angie" Nixon (D-part of Duval, district 14) Failed.[27] For (sub)paragraph 2, insert after current text "This subparagraph does not prohibit a school district from adopting procedures that permit school personnel to withhold such information from a parent" and before current "reasonably prudent person" new text: "if the information would out a LGBTQ+ student without that student's consent or a".[30]
04. 705429 Rep. Michele Rayner (D-parts of Hillsborough, Manatee, Pinellas, and Sarasota, district 70) Failed.[27] Retaining paragraphs 1, 2 and 4–7, but deleting the entirety of paragraph 3 (the one about gender identity and sexual orientation).[31]
05. 703365 Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith (D-part of Orange, district 49) Failed.[27] In paragraph 3, replace "sexual orientation or gender identity" with "sexual activity".[32]
06. 600607 Rep. Marie Paule Woodson (D-part of Broward, district 101) Failed.[27] Add at the end of paragraph 3: "This subparagraph does not apply to any discussion between a student who identifies as transgender, gender non-conforming, non-binary, or otherwise LGBTQ+ and their peers."[33]
07. 634251 Minority Leader Rep. Evan Jenne (D-part of Broward, district 99) Failed.[27] Delete paragraph 4 (about Department of Education) and renumber the rest accordingly[34]
08. 870647 Rep. Ben Diamond (D-part of Pinellas, district 68) Failed.[27] Delete paragraph 7 (giving parents increased ability to sue school district).[35]
09. 722367 Rep. Harding Adopted.[27] Expanded paragraph 7 with further details of making complaints and proceeding to lawsuits against school districts.[36]
10. 194533 Rep. Fentrice Driskell (D-part of Hillsborough, district 63) Failed.[27] Insert at the end of paragraph 7: "A court shall award reasonable attorney fees and court costs to a school district that is found to have not violated this paragraph."[37]
11. 275051 Rep. Anna Eskamani (D-part of Orange, district 47) Failed.[27] Create paragraph 8 with the text: "To ensure that parents and legal guardians know how to discuss sexual orientation and gender identity with their children, the Department of Education, in consultation with Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) and Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), must create a pamphlet focused on providing parents and legal guardians with information on how to talk to their children about sexual orientation and gender identity. The pamphlet must contain contact information for local LGBTQ+ focused organizations that can help with such conversations. Each school district must annually provide the pamphlet to parents and legal guardians and prominently display such pamphlets in the front office of schools within the district."[38]
12. 138729 Rep. Eskamani Failed.[27] Create paragraph 8 with the text: "A student whose school reveals their sexual orientation to the student's parent or guardian pursuant to this paragraph and causes irreparable harm to the student may bring an action against the Department of Education for injunctive relief. A court may award damages and shall award reasonable attorney fees and court costs to a student who receives injunctive relief."[39]

February 24, House of Representatives

If it talks like a duck and walks like a duck, then it's a duck. That means you are homophobic, and you are transphobic [if you vote yes]. You deal with that how you may.

Representative Michele Rayner, addressing the Florida House of Representatives on February 24, 2022

News conference in the Capitol on February 24. From left to right: Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith of Orlando; Brandon Wolf, Equality Florida advocate and Pulse survivor; Rep. Fentrice Driskell of Tampa; and Rep. Michele Rayner of St. Petersburg

On February 24, the bill had its third reading in the full House of Representatives. During debate on the bill, student pages (who are in middle school) were removed from the chamber. The absence of the student pages was criticized by Representative Grieco, who further noted that the bill does not limit the ban on discussing LGBTQIA+ people to kindergarten through third grade; school districts or parents could deem topics related to the community age-inappropriate at any time. He characterized members claiming that the bill has age limitations "either mistaken or they're flat out lying". Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith (D-part of Orange, district 49), who is the first gay Latinx elected official in Florida's legislature, wore his Pride pin upside down to indicate his community is in distress.[40]

Anti-LGBTQ+ arguments were again made by bill supporters. Representative Juan Alfonso Fernandez-Barquin (R-part of Miami-Dade, district 119) claimed that young children are "being taught the radical leftist gender theory" and that parents know what is best. Rep. Erin Grall (Indian River and part of St. Lucie, district 54) equated school support forms regarding gender non-conforming students to hypothetical forms about "transitioning a child from one religion to another".[40]

The House of Representatives voted 69-47 to pass the bill, with votes largely falling on party lines. It was supported by one Democratic representative, James Bush III (D-Miami-Dade, district 109), and opposed by the following seven Republicans:[40]

  • Vance Aloupis, Jr. (R-part of Miami-Dade, district 115),[41] after previously supporting in the Education & Employment Committee[42]
  • Demi Busatta Cabrera (R-part of Miami-Dade, district 114),[41] after previously supporting in the Judiciary Committee[43]
  • Chip LaMarca (R-part of Broward, district 93),[41] after previously supporting in the Education & Employment Committee[42]
  • Amber Mariano (R-part of Pasco, district 36),[41] after previously supporting in the Education & Employment Committee[42]
  • James Vernon "Jim" Mooney, Jr. (R-Monroe and part of Miami-Dade, district 120)[41]
  • Rene "Coach P" Plasencia (R-parts of Orange and Brevard, district 50)[41]
  • William Cloud "Will" Robinson, Jr. (R-parts of Manatee and Sarasota, district 71)[41]

February 28, Senate Appropriations Committee

I have heard different members of the Legislature say something along the lines of, 'Parents know what's best for their kids.' When it comes to the queer community, that is not true. If parents know what's best for their kids, why did my best friend get kicked out of his house and have to live with me?

Will Larkins, president of the queer student union at Winter Park High School, public testimony to the Senate Appropriations Committee on February 28, 2022

Senate President Wilton Simpson approved fast-tracking the House version of the bill to just one stop in the Senate Appropriations Committee rather than continuing with the Senate version through two more committees.[44] The committee is made up of seven Democratic and thirteen Republican senators, one of which is bill introducer Senator Baxley.[45]

Senator Jason Pizzo (D-part of Miami-Dade, district 38) directly asked Sen. Baxley, "Final question, and I mean this with all due respect: Do you believe that a classroom teacher in kindergarten, first grade, second grade, or third grade can convert someone to being gay?" The chairperson, Sen. Kelli Stargel (R-parts of Lake and Polk, district 22), said she did not believe that Pizzo's question was to the bill; he pushed back about the relevance of the bill sponsor's intent. Baxley did not answer the question, instead arguing about centering parental rights. When Pizzo attempted again to get a direct answer from Baxley regarding his beliefs and why the focus on particular ages, Stargel disallowed Pizzo's question and moved to the next senator.[46]

To specific questions from Senator Lauren Book (D-part of Broward, district 32) regarding educational standards, Baxley gave vague answers and suggested the bill would prevent teachers from "promoting certain worldviews or certain positions to children this young who are not ready to talk about sexual things".[46] Sen. Audrey Gibson (D-part of Duval, district 6) asked Baxley what led to his bill, such as a specific family speaking to him about their parental rights being violated. He brought up "social engineering approaches" and "values", and said it was a "proactive bill by folks who work on parental issues and school issues". Sen. Linda Stewart (D-part of Orange, district 13) asked if the bill would apply to LGBTQ clubs or other extracurricular activities; he said it would not. Among other questions, Senator Bobby Powell (D-part of Palm Beach, district 30) asked how Baxley defined "social engineering approaches" and if any line in the bill dealt with that subject. Baxley said, "That is describing what goes on around social value issues, when you try to reach over from the educational arm of our society, and address these in a way that doesn't observe the authority of parents to establish those value lines."[46]

During the questions and answers, Senator Jeff Brandes (R-part of Pinellas, district 24) asked if "heterosexual conversations" would be allowed under the bill; when Sen. Baxley said no, Brandes asked what in the bill text disallowed discussing heterosexuality or sexual activity. Baxley avoided answering why the bill singled out sexual orientation and gender identity.[46]

An amendment proposed by Senator Brandes would have swapped out the words "sexual orientation or gender identity" in favor of "human sexuality or sexual activity" to be more generally about sex education and no longer target the LGBTQ+ community. Sen. Baxley said Brandes' amendment would "gut" the bill.[47] [47] Rep. Smith voiced support for Brandes' amendment prior to the hearing,[48] and hoped to provide testimony at the hearing, but Chair Stargel did not grant him permission to speak. Stargel claimed the bill is "not meant to be hateful", and she said in support, "What this bill is seeking to fix is a situation where you have a school district that puts in place a policy of transgender/gender-non-conforming Student Support Plan, according to Title IX, which extends all the way to kids in elementary school, and that entire plan is done without the knowledge or input from the parent. That is the problem that we're fixing. I don't care if your kids are straight or if your kids are gay."[45]

Positions

Supporters

At committee hearings, individuals representing themselves or representing organizations have waived in support or provided public testimony as proponents.[49][50][51] As of February 26, 2022, the supporters have been:

  • Christian Family Coalition (CFC) or Family Christian Coalition (FCC)[49][51]
  • Florida Citizens Alliance[50][51]
  • Florida Ethics and Religion Liberty Commission[49][50][51]
  • Florida Family Action[49]
  • Florida Family Policy Council[50]
  • Florida Smart Justice Alliance[51]
  • Heritage Action for America[51]
  • National Coalition for Public School Options[50]
  • Opportunity Solutions Project[50]
  • Salt and Light Council[51]
  • Various individuals,[49][50][51] including members of The Villages[24] and January Littlejohn[49][50][51]

Opponents

I walk into a building every day where I am told that I do not matter. I can not only surmise that it's because you don't care—that gay folks, and LGBT folks and trans folks don't matter. So I'm here to tell the LGBTQ babies who are watching: You matter. I see you. You are loved. You are perfect just the way you are. I know you are getting told right now in this room that you are less than. But God made you beautiful and special just the way you are. If you are trans, how you show—I'm speaking to that aide that comes into this Capitol every day and that has to fight, and is one of the most beautiful people I've ever seen and known: You are special. You are seen. And you are appreciated. To the other folks that work here in this Capitol and have to endure listening to this legislation: You are seen. You are worthy, and you are beautiful. And I'm speaking to my wife, who's standing right there—who's sitting right there, rather: You are seen. You are loved. And you are beautiful.

Representative Michele Rayner, addressing the Florida House of Representatives on February 24, 2022

Among others, the bill is strongly opposed within the legislature by the three openly gay legislators:

  • Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith (D-part of Orange, district 49), Florida's first elected LGBTQ+ Latinx state legislator,[23] Democratic Ranking Member of the State Affairs Committee and the Professions & Public Health Subcommittee
  • Rep. Michele Rayner (D-parts of Hillsborough, Manatee, Pinellas, and Sarasota, district 70), Florida's first openly gay Black woman elected as a state legislator[26] and first openly gay woman of color elected as a state legislator[40]
  • Sen. Shevrin "Shev" Jones (D-parts of Broward and Miami-Dade, district 35), Florida's first elected openly gay Senator[52] and formerly a Representative who publicly came out while in office in 2018,[53] Vice Chair of the Education Committee

This is an anti-gay bill, and if you vote for this anti-gay bill, after today you can never, ever claim to be an ally of the LGBTQ community. In fact, you are voting to be an opponent. I'm gonna vote down on this bill, and I'm going to say gay until I'm rainbow in the face.

Representative Mike Grieco, addressing the Florida House of Representatives on February 24, 2022

LGBTQIA+ allies among the legislature who have strongly opposed the bill include but are not limited to:

  • Rep. Kristen Arrington (D-part of Osceola, district 43), fought as a member of the Education & Employment Committee and filed an amendment
  • Rep. Robin Bartleman (D-part of Broward, district 104), fought in the chamber[40]
  • Rep. Ben Diamond (D-part of Pinellas, district 68), fought as a member of the Judiciary Committee and filed an amendment
  • Rep. Fentrice Driskell (D-part of Hillsborough, district 63), fought as the Democratic Ranking Member of the Judiciary Committee[24] and filed an amendment
  • Rep. Anna Eskamani (D-part of Orange, district 47), filed two amendments and fought in the chamber
  • Rep. Mike Grieco (D-part of Miami-Dade, district 113), fought as a member of the Judiciary Committee[24] and in the chamber[40]
  • Rep. Angela "Angie" Nixon (D-part of Duval, district 14), filed an amendment
  • Rep. Marie Paule Woodson (D-part of Broward, district 101), filed an amendment

Other attempts to amend the bill (in ways that would not alter paragraph 3 or insert new affirmative language) were made by:

  • Rep. Tracie Davis (D-part of Duval, district 13)
  • Rep. Minority Leader Rep. Evan Jenne (D-part of Broward, district 99)

Every single one of you have a sexual orientation. Every single one of you have a gender identity. To prohibit discussions of sexual orientation and gender identity is to exclude what it is to be human.

Lakey Love, of the Florida Coalition for Transgender Liberation, public testimony to the Senate Education Committee on January 20, 2022

At committee hearings, individuals representing themselves or representing organizations have waived in opposition or provided public testimony as opponents. The opponents have been:

  • AIDS Health Care Foundation[50][51]
  • American Atheists[50]
  • American Civil Liberties Union of Florida (ACLU of Florida)[49][50][51]
  • COLAGE[51]
  • Common Ground[49]
  • Dream Defenders[51]
  • Equality Florida[49][50][51]
  • Family Equality[51]
  • Florida AFL–CIO[51]
  • Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates[49]
  • Florida Center for Fiscal & Economic Policy[49][50][51]
  • Florida Coalition for Transgender Liberation[49][51]
  • Florida Immigrant Coalition[50][51]
  • Florida National Organization for Women (FL NOW)[49][50][51]
  • Florida PTA[49][50][51]
  • Florida Rising[49][50][51]
  • Florida State Conference of NAACP Branches[51]
  • Florida Student Power Network[50][51]
  • Latina Institute for Reproductive Justice FL[50]
  • League of Women Voters[49][50][51]
  • Mental Health Association of Central Florida[51]
  • Miami-Dade County[50]
  • National LGBTQ Task Force Action Force[51]
  • Southern Poverty Law Center Action Fund[49][50][51]
  • St. Stephen Lutheran Church[51]
  • Students for a Democratic Society[51]
  • Various individuals,[49][50][51] including members of the LGBTQIA+ community, physicians, members of the National Association of Social Workers[24]

Resources

Notes

  1. ↑ Next to the legislators' names, R indicates Republican party and D indicates Democratic party. After the dash, the names are the county or counties (in whole or in part) represented, followed by the district number. Some media reports put the legislator's city of residence rather than the county or counties represented; for instance, Joe Harding is often listed as "R-Williston", Williston being his city of residence, but he actually represents part of Marion County and all of Levy County, of which Williston is a city and Bronson is the county seat.
  2. ↑ From 2000 to 2007, Baxley served three full terms and a partial fourth term as the representative for district 24, then a full term for district 24 from 2010 to 2012, his last for district 24 due to term limits. After the districts were redrawn in 2012, he served two terms representing district 23 from 2012 to 2016. He was elected to the Senate district 12 in 2016 and re-elected in 2020.
  3. ↑ Lakey Love's pronouns are they/them and they are non-binary. They have been repeatedly misgendered in media reports.
  4. ↑ A committee substitute is a bill that has changed from the original filing through the amendments process in committee hearings.

References

  1. ↑ 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 "CS/CS/HB 1557, Engrossed 1" (PDF) (2022-02-24). Florida House of Representatives.
  2. ↑ "HB 1557" (PDF) (2022-01-11). Florida House of Representatives.
  3. ↑ "SB 1834" (2022-01-07). The Florida Senate.
  4. ↑ Perry, Mitch: "Dennis Baxley on gay adoption reversal: 'I simply can't affirm homosexuality'" (2015-04-01). Florida Politics. (Archived on February 28, 2022).
  5. ↑ Farrington, Brendan (Associated Press): "House bill: Churches don't have to wed gays" (2016-03-02). The Daytona Beach News-Journal. (Archived on February 28, 2022).
  6. ↑ "SB 1864: Vulnerable Child Protection Act". The Florida Senate.
  7. ↑ Hayes, Kelly: "Confusion around LGBTQ panic defense bill stirs Senate committee" (2021-03-30). Florida Politics. (Archived on February 28, 2022).
  8. ↑ Kam, Dara (News Service of Florida): "Transgender Athlete Restrictions Move Forward In Florida Senate" (2021-03-31). WUSF Public Media. (Archived on April 14, 2021).
  9. ↑ 9.0 9.1 "CS/CS/HB 1557 - Parental Rights in Education". Florida House of Representatives.
  10. ↑ "CS/HB 1475 (2021) - Sex-specific Student Athletic Teams or Sports". Florida House of Representatives.
  11. ↑ "HB 241 (2021) - Parents' Bill of Rights". Florida House of Representatives.
  12. ↑ Ogles, Jacob: "'Parents' bill of rights' wins Senate Education Committee seal of approval" (2021-03-23). Florida Politics. (Archived on February 3, 2022).
  13. ↑ Williams, Jeremy: "DeSantis vetoes funding for Pulse survivors, LGBTQ youth housing in state budget" (2021-06-02). Watermark. (Archived on February 24, 2022).
  14. ↑ Brown, Danielle J.: "Federal lawsuit: FL's trans athlete law 'has nothing to do with fairness or equality for girls or women in sports.'" (2021-07-06). Florida Phoenix. (Archived on December 21, 2021).
  15. ↑ Downey, Renzo: "Anti-bullying page, including pro-LGBTQ links, removed from Education Department website" (2021-12-06). Florida Politics. (Archived on February 25, 2022).
  16. ↑ Brown, Danielle J.: "Dept. of Ed removed LGBTQ resources from website; Nikki Fried fills info gap" (2021-12-23). Florida Phoenix. (Archived on January 11, 2022).
  17. ↑ Wolff, Taylor: "House of Representatives Staff Analysis, Bill #: HB 1557 Parental Rights in Education". Florida House of Representatives.
  18. ↑ 18.0 18.1 GoΓ±i-Lessan, Ana: "Lawsuit against Leon Schools says district excluded parents from gender discussions" (2021-11-16). Tallahassee Democrat. (Archived on February 28, 2022).
  19. ↑ Geggis, Anne: "House parental rights bill advances prohibiting some schoolhouse discussions of LGBTQ issues" (2022-01-20). Florida Politics. (Archived on February 25, 2022).
  20. ↑ 20.0 20.1 Migdon, Brooke: "Lawsuit claims gender counseling to blame for child's suicide attempts" (2022-01-31). The Hill. (Archived on February 28, 2022).
  21. ↑ 21.0 21.1 21.2 Tracy, Kailey: "Lawsuit claims Clay County Schools withheld information about child's well-being before student attempted suicide" (2022-01-27). First Coast News. (Archived version).
  22. ↑ "SB 1834: Parental Rights in Education". The Florida Senate.
  23. ↑ 23.0 23.1 Hayes, Kelly: "'Hateful': White House denounces Dennis Baxley's bill on LGBTQ discussions in the classroom" (2022-02-09). Florida Politics. (Archived on February 25, 2022).
  24. ↑ 24.0 24.1 24.2 24.3 24.4 24.5 Hayes, Kelly: "'This bill is a Trojan horse:' Attempts to reorient House 'Don't Say Gay' bill toward parental rights erupt in debate" (2022-02-17). Florida Politics. (Archived on February 25, 2022).
  25. ↑ "Special order letter for Tuesday, February 22, 2022" (PDF) (2022-02-17). Florida House of Representatives.
  26. ↑ 26.0 26.1 Hayes, Kelly: "'Slowly being erased': House preps for vote on LGBTQ instruction bill without controversial amendment" (2022-02-22). Florida Politics. (Archived on February 25, 2022).
  27. ↑ 27.00 27.01 27.02 27.03 27.04 27.05 27.06 27.07 27.08 27.09 27.10 27.11 "The Journal of the House of Representatives, Number 25" (PDF) (2022-02-22). Florida House of Representatives.
  28. ↑ "Bill No. CS/CS/HB 1557 (2002): Amendment No. 884605" (PDF) (2022-02-18). Florida House of Representatives.
  29. ↑ "Bill No. CS/CS/HB 1557 (2002): Amendment No. 784679" (PDF) (2022-02-18). Florida House of Representatives.
  30. ↑ "Bill No. CS/CS/HB 1557 (2002): Amendment No. 178971" (PDF) (2022-02-18). Florida House of Representatives.
  31. ↑ "Bill No. CS/CS/HB 1557 (2002): Amendment No. 705429" (PDF) (2022-02-18). Florida House of Representatives.
  32. ↑ "Bill No. CS/CS/HB 1557 (2002): Amendment No. 703365" (PDF) (2022-02-18). Florida House of Representatives.
  33. ↑ "Bill No. CS/CS/HB 1557 (2002): Amendment No. 600607" (PDF) (2022-02-18). Florida House of Representatives.
  34. ↑ "Bill No. CS/CS/HB 1557 (2002): Amendment No. 634251" (PDF) (2022-02-18). Florida House of Representatives.
  35. ↑ "Bill No. CS/CS/HB 1557 (2002): Amendment No. 870647" (PDF) (2022-02-18). Florida House of Representatives.
  36. ↑ "Bill No. CS/CS/HB 1557 (2002): Amendment No. 722367" (PDF) (2022-02-18). Florida House of Representatives.
  37. ↑ "Bill No. CS/CS/HB 1557 (2002): Amendment No. 194533" (PDF) (2022-02-18). Florida House of Representatives.
  38. ↑ "Bill No. CS/CS/HB 1557 (2002): Amendment No. 275051" (PDF) (2022-02-18). Florida House of Representatives.
  39. ↑ "Bill No. CS/CS/HB 1557 (2002): Amendment No. 138729" (PDF) (2022-02-18). Florida House of Representatives.
  40. ↑ 40.0 40.1 40.2 40.3 40.4 40.5 Hayes, Kelly: "'We are in distress': House passes LGBTQ instruction bill despite pleas from Democrats" (2022-02-24). Florida Politics. (Archived on February 25, 2022).
  41. ↑ 41.0 41.1 41.2 41.3 41.4 41.5 41.6 "The Journal of the House of Representatives, Number 27" (PDF) (2022-02-24). Florida House of Representatives.
  42. ↑ 42.0 42.1 42.2 "Education & Employment Committee: Action Packet" (PDF) (2022-01-20). Florida House of Representatives.
  43. ↑ "Judiciary Committee: AMENDED Action Packet" (PDF) (2022-02-17). Florida House of Representatives.
  44. ↑ Downey, Renzo: "Senate panel to weigh bill limiting LGBTQ school discussions" (2022-02-28). Florida Politics. (Archived on February 28, 2022).
  45. ↑ 45.0 45.1 Hayes, Kelly: "'It's not meant to be hateful': LGBTQ instruction bill advances to Senate floor" (2022-02-28). Florida Politics. (Archived on February 28, 2022).
  46. ↑ 46.0 46.1 46.2 46.3 "2/28/22 Senate Committee on Appropriations Part 1" (2022-02-28). The Florida Channel.
  47. ↑ 47.0 47.1 Wilson, Kirby and Ceballos, Ana: "'Don't say gay': Senate panel rejects Republican's attempt to tone down bill" (2022-02-28). Tampa Bay Times. (Archived on March 1, 2022).
  48. ↑ Powers, Scott: "Democrat Carlos Smith endorses Jeff Brandes' amendment to sex ed bill" (2022-02-28). Florida Politics. (Archived on February 28, 2022).
  49. ↑ 49.00 49.01 49.02 49.03 49.04 49.05 49.06 49.07 49.08 49.09 49.10 49.11 49.12 49.13 49.14 49.15 49.16 49.17 "Education & Employment Committee Meeting Appearance Listing, Bill: 1557" (2022-01-20). Florida House of Representatives.
  50. ↑ 50.00 50.01 50.02 50.03 50.04 50.05 50.06 50.07 50.08 50.09 50.10 50.11 50.12 50.13 50.14 50.15 50.16 50.17 50.18 50.19 50.20 50.21 50.22 "Committee Meeting Expanded Agenda: Education (Final Meeting Packet)" (PDF) (2022-02-08). The Florida Senate.
  51. ↑ 51.00 51.01 51.02 51.03 51.04 51.05 51.06 51.07 51.08 51.09 51.10 51.11 51.12 51.13 51.14 51.15 51.16 51.17 51.18 51.19 51.20 51.21 51.22 51.23 51.24 51.25 51.26 51.27 51.28 51.29 51.30 "Judiciary Committee Meeting Appearance Listing, Bill: 1557" (2022-02-17). Florida House of Representatives.
  52. ↑ Staff Reports: "Sixty Days for 2.10.22 β€” A prime-time look at the 2022 Legislative Session" (2022-02-10). Florida Politics. (Archived on February 11, 2022).
  53. ↑ Smiley, David: "Florida Rep. Shevrin Jones opens up as a gay man: 'I'm living my truth.'" (2018-08-23). Miami Herald. (Archived on August 23, 2018).
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