‘Don't Say Gay’ bill requires students to be ‘outed’
A Florida bill barring educators from discussing topics related to sexual orientation and gender identity has gained an amendment that would require school staff like teachers or counselors to inform parents of their child's sexual orientation within six weeks if they learn a student is not straight.
The bill has come under scrutiny and been dubbed the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill by media outlets and pundits critical of the proposals, which would also give parents room to sue a primary school if they believe it has violated the order.
The bill’s co-sponsor, Republican State Representative Joe Harding, filed the new amendment on Friday. It requires that “the school principal or his or her designee shall develop a plan, using all available governmental resources, to disclose such information within six weeks after the decision to withhold such information from the parent.”
The legislation previously included an exemption for some students being ‘outed’ to their parents if educators feared it could lead to abuse at home, local affiliate WFLA noted.
State Representative Charles G. Smith, who says on his Twitter account that he is Florida’s “first LGBTQ Latino legislator,” said in a tweet blasting Harding’s amendment that it would have “devastating consequences for our youth.”
An amendment was just filed by the sponsor of #DontSayGay to make it even more dangerous for vulnerable kids with a STATE-MANDATED outing of LGBTQ students to parents, specifically in cases of abuse, abandonment + neglect.This will have devastating consequences for our youth.😢 pic.twitter.com/3s89rcMrMN— Rep. Carlos G Smith (@CarlosGSmith) February 20, 2022
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has expressed support for the bill, which will be put to a vote in the state House this week, along with multiple amendments, including Harding's, but many activist groups have publicly opposed the bill. The White House claimed earlier this month that the legislation is “designed to target and attack kids” who are LGBTQ.
One proposed amendment from vocal critic Representative Ana Eskamani would push back on the legislation by allowing students to sue the Florida Department of Education for any “irreparable harm” caused by their sexual orientation being revealed.