Following Governor Ron DeSantis signing Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill (HB 1557) into law, State Senator Gary Farmer released the following statement:
“This abhorrent law has one goal: to further the political ambitions of our heartless Governor. Ron DeSantis has repeatedly refused to act on the real problems facing the people of our state. Right now, Florida faces an affordable housing crisis, an unstable and overpriced homeowners’ insurance market, and an unacceptable lack of affordable healthcare for everyday Floridians. Ron DeSantis is too beholden to his corporate donors to act on any of these pressing issues, so he has chosen instead to use the LGBTQ+ community as a political punching bag to distract from the real problems gripping our state.
“In his relentless fervor to fuel a culture war, Ron DeSantis has now signed another bill into law that will have devastating effects on an already vulnerable community in our state. We know that students who identify as LBGTQ+ or have family members in the LGBTQ+ community are far more likely to be subjected to bullying than their straight cisgender counterparts. The new “Don’t Say Gay” law rips from teachers hands the number one item in their toolbox to combat this terrible trend – discussion & counseling. When a student is bullied, the most effective way to end it is to directly address the situation at hand. The passage of this law now eliminates a teacher’s ability to directly address the abuse encountered by students due to the sexual orientation or gender identity of themselves or a loved one.
“This bill is another horrific component of Governor DeSantis’ 4H agenda: hateful, harmful, hurtful and homophobic public policy. “Don’t Say Gay” fails to adhere to Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, and directly violates the necessity for equity in our classrooms established by Article IX Section 1 of our State Constitution. I hope to see this cruel and politically motivated law overturned by the courts as soon as possible.”