Amid protests and pushback, controversial so-called Don’t Say Gay bill poised to land on DeSantis’ desk

A big final week of the Florida Legislative session is ahead, and to end it on time a new budget has to get to lawmakers by Tuesday.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A big final week of the Florida Legislative session is ahead, and to end it on time a new budget has to get to lawmakers by Tuesday.

The real attention, however, is for the controversial bills that go to final votes this week.

Among them, parents’ rights in education that opponents call the Don’t Say Gay bill.

There have already been several protests in Tallahassee and cities across the state, with more likely ahead as members of Florida’s LGBTQ community feel targeted and ostracized.

The house sponsor of the Parents’ Rights Bill, State Rep. Joseph Harding, insists that is not the purpose of the bill.

“Nowhere in the bill do we limit them being able to confide to someone at school,” Harding said while appearing on This Week in South Florida Sunday morning. “That’s the biggest misconception of the bill. And it’s just not in the words on the page.”

Before being sent to the Senate floor, the bill was amended to give parents a path to take the issue up with the school before they sue if they have concerns of their child’s welfare.

The bill ensures parents are notified of health changes, allowed access to student records, give prior permissions for health screening and may refuse school healthcare for their students.

Concerns that fuel the opposition come in a paragraph more than halfway through the bill, which reads:

“Classroom instruction by school personnel or third parties on sexual orientation or gender identity may not occur in K through 3rd grade or in a manner that is not age appropriate…”

Florida’s first openly gay senator is South Florida’s Shevrin Jones, who reminded colleagues that this week, “I sit in the same room with you and your actions and words matter "

“I would never say that parents should not have the right to ask what’s going to happen with their child. I’d be crazy to do that. But what we have to understand is that there are children who do not come from households that are supportive and loving.”

There is no doubt that the senate will pass the bill and send it to the governor.

The protests and push back are already planned.


About the Author:

Glenna Milberg joined Local 10 News in September 1999 to report on South Florida's top stories and community issues. She also serves as co-host on Local 10's public affairs broadcast, "This Week in South Florida."