The Florida Senate has passed the “Don’t Say Gay Bill” on Tuesday, March 8.

In a 22-17 vote, the Republican-controlled Senate approved the bill. It will now go on to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who is expected to sign it. 

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The Bill, which would restrict the teaching of sexual orientation and gender identity, states that “Classroom instruction by school personnel or third parties on sexual orientation or gender identity may not occur in kindergarten through grade three or in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards.”

If a school district is suspected of violating this law, parents would be able to sue.

Senator Breaks Down

During the debate, Democrat Shevrin Jones, Florida’s first openly gay senator, tearfully said to his colleagues, “To those who think you can legislate gay people away, I’m sorry. You cannot. I think you should legislate to protect them.”

He went on to say, “So I ask you all, whatever this bill is supposed to do, let this bill do that…but please, do no harm.”

Senator Tina Polsky, a Democrat, said, “What we really need to be doing is teaching tolerance, caring, loving, anti-discrimination, anti-bigotry. Tell me how this bill does that. Tell me how this bill is helping us create kind, giving, tolerant adults. I don’t see it. I see it as exactly the opposite.”

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Senator Danny Burgess, a Republican, defended the bill on grounds of parental rights. He said, “This bill says parents your right to raise your children does not end when they walk into a classroom.This bill recognizes that parents are not the enemy.” 

 The Bill would go into effect July 1 should Governor DeSantis sign the bill.

If you feel distressed reading the story, you can reach out to support services.

For 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention call Lifeline on 13 11 14

For Australia-wide LGBTQI peer support call QLife on 1800 184 527 or webchat.

 

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