Last week, Florida teens and their families, along with LGBTQ advocacy groups, filed a lawsuit against the state’s so-called “Don’t Say Gay Law.”
Well the stakes just got higher.
16 states are now suing Florida to block the Parental Rights in Education Bill, arguing the legislation harms students and faculty and lacks educational merit.
The plaintiffs include the District of Columbia, as well as New Jersey, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New York, and Oregon.
“It’s my job to stand up for people who are harmed by discrimination–and what harms Florida kids, parents, and teachers harms every one of us,” said Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison in a statement.
“Essential to being able to live with dignity, safety, and respect is being able to say loud and clear who you are as a human being, to speak your truth. But under this law, Florida kids can’t speak their truth. Their parents can’t speak their truth. Teachers can’t speak their truth.”
When the bill was signed into law by Gov. DeSantis in March, proponents claimed its purpose was to limit early sex education in grades K-3. But the legislation also contained vague language about banning LGBTQ-themed conversations deemed “not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate.” Critics feared a door would open for varying interpretations that would directly harm LGBTQ students in all grades.
That door subsequently burst open, with some schools forcing teachers to remove signage indicating a classroom is a “safe space” for LGBTQ students, remove photographs of their same-sex spouses, and in some cases, mandating that teachers out students to their peers’ parents.