It has only been a few hours since Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the controversy HB 1557 in the law, but Equality Florida quickly organized a press conference via zoom to denounce what the speakers described as an act of cowardice.

The governor announced his press conference to sign the bill on less than an hour’s notice. WFLA Evan Donovan said his station received a call to let them know the conference was taking place before an email was sent, breaking communication standards.

“Governor. Ron DeSantis signed the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill into the loosest way possible today,” said Equality Florida’s senior policy director. Joe Saunders noted. “He hid his agenda from the media and public until the last moment, sneaking onto a charter school campus that is exempt from the law and away from students who would protest his presence.”

Prior to working with Equality Florida, Saunders was among the first openly LGBTQ members of the Florida House of Representatives. representing Michele Raynerthe first openly LGBTQ black woman at Florida House, echoed Saunders’ sentiment.

“He’s a coward and he knows there’s more against him than with him,” Rayner explained. “What I will not do in my capacity, as long as I have this ability and this platform, is allow our children and allow our community to be hurt by bigoted people who are more concerned about the power only by people.”

Saunders used the call to announce that a trial against the bill would be imminent and promised a “swift and fierce” trial. He said one of the most harmful aspects of the bill is the freedom it gives some parents to sue other parents if they believe parental rights are being violated.

“We are announcing and launching a legal defense fund not only for school districts across the state, people who want to protect school districts from these specious lawsuits and litigation,” Saunders said, “but also for parents and young people. who will be harmed by this terrible bill.

When signing the bill earlier in the day, DeSantis accused supporters of not reading the bill or pushing an agenda if they did. He accused opponents of the bill of sexualizing children.

“This law does not solve any existing problem. Instead, HB 1557 has been armed by the governor’s office to launch a sectarian smear campaign to attack and defame LGBTQ Floridians with baseless accusations of grooming and child molestation,” the rep said. Carlos Guillermo Smith noted. “HB 1557 does absolutely nothing to prohibit conversations about sex, sexual activity, or sex education with young children, despite claims by its proponents.”

Proponents of the bill have argued that the wording would suppress conversations about gender identity that may be inappropriate for young children. But during the signing, supporters said the “combat is clear” that the bill is about specific types of conversations.

“Do you think it’s appropriate for kids to walk into a classroom when they’re five and six to learn more about transgender people instead of math or science or photosynthesis or whatever it is to That day?” Florida House Speaker Chris Sprows noted. “Do you think that’s appropriate?”

Saunders said the opposition is focused on clause three of the bill, which reads: “A school district may not encourage classroom discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity in primary levels or in a way that is not appropriate for the age or development of the students.”

He said the language could act as a deterrent by scaring teachers away from bringing up topics about even the existence of the LGBTQ community, even if those kids come from families with LGBTQ members or the instructor is also part of it. from the community.

Proponents of the bill have denied this framework, arguing that the legislation only addresses a school’s official curriculum. But Saunders argued that the wording of the bill is vague and broad. As written, this could remove any material referring to any type of relationship, whether straight or gay. But so far, the only materials offered for removal have been stories featuring LGBTQ parents, like And the tango makes threethe true story of two male penguins at the Central Park Zoo who cared for an egg and raised her newborn baby together.

“The Governor wants to have it both ways. He wants to tell anyone who criticizes the legislation – and in particular section three, which we have focused on – that we have not read it or if we have read it we have some sort of hidden agenda” Saunders mentioned, “He publicly shouted at reporters who called it the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill, with some sort of tribute to neutrality, as if his intention was to remove any reference to heterosexuality or heterosexual families in the program. We know that’s not true. And that’s not their intention.”

Janelle Perez is a candidate for the South Florida State Senate. She is a married homosexual woman with two children. She said the governor celebrating “freedom” and “parental rights” did not include all Floridians or all parents.

“Families like mine are going to be impacted by bills like this for years to come. My daughter is in kindergarten at the moment. She’s going to kindergarten next year,” Perez said.

“How will his teachers be able to teach? How will her class interact with her on the first day of school when she draws a picture of her family? What will it be for her? How is she going to feel when teachers can’t speak openly or they’re going to toe a line so carefully because this law is so broad. How will my children feel? Governor DeSantis talked a lot about parental freedom today. But you know what kind of parents he didn’t mention? Me. Parents like me.

HB 1557 will become law on July 1.


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