Governor Ron DeSantis signs HB 1557, the 'Don't Say Gay' bill
Governor Ron DeSantis signs HB 1557, the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill (Photo: Twitter)

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) signed HB 1557 into law yesterday afternoon. Known officially as the ‘Parental Rights in Education’ bill, it’s been dubbed by many the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill.

Aimed at schools, it seeks to ban the discussion of LGBTQ topics mainly at the primary grade level. However, it will also limit discussion when “not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students”. HB 1557 will take effect July 1st.

Many advocates have blasted it for the harm it might cause LGBTQ kids. President Joe Biden slammed the bill as “hateful” in a tweet last month.

Related: ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill is passed by Florida’s House

After passing the House and Senate last month, DeSantis held a signing ceremony at Classical Preparatory School in Spring Hill, Florida. He surrounded himself with kids for the actual signing and used the opportunity to slam those who opposed the bill.

“Today, I signed HB 1557, the Parental Rights in Education Act, into law. It ensures parents can send their kids to kindergarten without gender ideology being injected into instruction and they will be notified and have the right to decline healthcare services offered at schools,” he tweeted.

Speaking to the press, he denounced the way the bill has been widely portrayed in the press.

“Leftist politicians, corporate media outlets, some of these activist groups, they actually have read the bill. And they’re sloganeering because they don’t want to admit that they support a lot of the things that we’re providing protections against.

“For example, they support sexualizing kids in kindergarten. They support injecting woke gender ideology into second-grade classrooms. They support enabling schools to—quote— ‘transitioning students to a different gender’ without the knowledge of the parent, much less without the parent’s consent.

“And so what they’re doing with these slogans and these narratives, they are trying to camouflage their true intention.”

He went on to say, “I don’t care what corporate media outlets say, I don’t care what Hollywood says, I don’t care what big corporations say, here I stand. I’m not backing down.”

Related: These big ‘gay’ billboards are heading to Florida … and Don Jr. is raging

Reaction to DeSantis signing the bill was swift. Equality Florida, which has long campaigned against HB 1557, was unimpressed by how he carried out the ceremony. Media were not given much advance warning.

“Today @GovRonDeSantis signed the #DontSayGay bill in the most cowardly way possible. He hid his agenda from the media & the public until the last moment, skulking onto a charter school campus that is exempt from the law & away from students who would protest his presence,” it tweeted.

“He has attacked parents and children in our state by invoking hateful anti-LGBTQ stereotypes all to pander to his right-wing base as he prepares to run for President in 2024.

“DeSantis has damaged our state’s reputation as a welcoming and inclusive place for all families, he has made us a laughing stock and target of national derision. Worse, he has made schools less safe for children.”

The Walt Disney Company, which has been strongly criticized for not speaking out in the past against the bill, and which employs thousands of people at its theme park in Florida, issued a statement saying HB 1557 should never have been signed.

“Florida’s HB 1557, also known as the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill, should never have passed and should never have been signed into law,” the statement reads.

“Our goal as a company is for this law to be repealed by the legislature or struck down in the courts, and we remain committed to supporting the national and state organizations working to achieve that. We are dedicated to standing up for the rights and safety of LGBTQ+ members of the Disney family, as well as the LGBTQ+ community in Florida and across the country.”

Vice President Kamala Harris also issued a tweet, saying, “To our LGBTQI+ youth—Never doubt for one second that you are loved for being exactly who you are.

“Hateful legislation will not deter our fight to make sure that every family and every student should be treated equally and with dignity in our nation.”

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