President Joe Biden once supported federal legislation banning the sexual education of K-12th grade students, long before he called a similar Florida law applying to K-3rd grade students “hateful.”
In the summer of 1994, Biden, then a U.S. Senator from Delaware, voted in favor of a proposed amendment to the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act. The amendment modified the act to block taxpayer money from funding any activity or school material that may “promote or encourage sexual activity,” according to The Federalist.
“None of the funds authorize under this Act shall be used to develop materials or programs directed at youth that are designed to directly promote or encourage, sexual activity, whether homosexual or heterosexual,” the amendment said.
An earlier draft of the amendment explicitly banned the promotion of homosexuality.
“No local educational agency that receives funds under this Act shall implement or carry out a program or activity that has either the purpose or effect of encouraging or supporting homosexuality as a positive lifestyle alternative,” the amendment, first introduced by former Sen. Bob Smith (R-NH) said. The legislation further clarified: “A program or activity, for purposes of this section, includes the distribution of instructional materials, instruction, counseling, or other services on school grounds, or referral of a pupil to an organization that affirms a homosexual lifestyle.”
In the nearly three decades since, Biden has apparently changed his stance on such legislation. In February, Biden said legislation that banned discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity in elementary schools is “hateful.”
“I want every member of the LGBTQI+ community — especially the kids who will be impacted by this hateful bill — to know that you are loved and accepted just as you are. I have your back, and my Administration will continue to fight for the protections and safety you deserve,” Biden said in a Twitter post as the legislation was working its way through the Florida legislature.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis ignored Democratic protests over the bill and signed the legislation into law late last month. As The Daily Wire reported at the time:
The bill has been wildly misrepresented as “Don’t Say Gay” legislation by critics who most notably taken issue with HB 1557’s statement that “classroom instruction by school personnel or third parties on sexual orientation or gender identity may not occur in kindergarten through grade 3 or in a manner that is not age appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards.”
Students in kindergarten are typically five years old, while third graders generally are eight or nine years old.
Nowhere in the legislation is the word “gay” mentioned, though the word “parent” is mentioned 32 times and the word “parental” is mentioned eight times. The legislation heavily focuses on parental notification and parental awareness of what children are being taught or exposed to in school.