Proposed Amendment to ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill Riles Democrats
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1954: 1st mass inoculation against Polio with the Jonas Salk vaccine takes place at Arsenal Elementary School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
A proposed amendment to Florida’s so-called “Don’t Say Gay” bill would require schools to inform parents of their child’s sexual orientation within six weeks of disclosure, otherwise known as “outing.”
House Bill 1557 bars educators from talking about sexual orientation or gender identity in elementary schools or at any grade level when a lesson is considered not “age appropriate.” It would allow parents to sue schools over perceived violations.
The bill requires schools to inform families of their child’s LBTQ+ status, should the student inform a teacher, counselor, or other personnel. In the originally filed version, the bill leaves an option for exemption from disclosure for instances where there was a suspicion of the information leading to abuse, neglect, or abandonment.
The proposed amendment called for schools to “develop a plan, using all available governmental resources” to inform parents of their child’s sexual orientation “through an open dialogue in a safe, supportive, and judgment-free environment that respects the parent-child relationship and protects the mental, emotional, and physical well-being of the student.”
Bill sponsor Rep. Joe Harding withdrew the amendment on Tuesday.
The legislation has received widespread condemnation from gay rights groups, advocates, and the Biden administration.
“Every parent … hopes that our leaders will ensure their [children’s] safety, protection and freedom, and today conservative politicians in Florida rejected those basic values by advancing legislation that is designed to target and attack kids who need that support the most, kids from LGBTQI+ community,” press secretary Jen Psaki said.
“Across the country, we’re seeing Republican leaders taking action to regulate what students can or cannot read, what they can or cannot learn, and most troubling, who they can or cannot be. This is who these kids are, and these legislators are trying to make it harder for them to be who they are.”
The bill faces a full Florida House vote this week, with 14 amendments to vote in or veto, before it goes to the next step of the legislative process.