Left-leaning comedian Bill Maher defended the Florida bill that critics have unfairly labeled “Don’t Say Gay,” arguing during the “Overtime” portion of Friday night’s episode of “Real Time With Bill Maher” that it was reasonable to believe kids in early elementary school should not “be thinking about sex at all.”
Maher discussed the issue with New York Times columnist Frank Bruni and Newsweek’s Batya Ungar-Sargon, and he pointed to the fact that the bill does not actually ban saying “gay” at all and clearly addresses only classroom instruction for children — in pre-kindergarten through third grade — regarding gender identity and sexual orientation.
Maher introduced the segment by saying he was going to bring in some discussion questions that had been submitted to the show.
“I’m glad somebody asked this: ‘Is Florida’s Don’t Say Gay bill designed to trap Democrats into saying they support teaching young children about sexuality’ is the question,” Maher read.
“But we can broaden that to anything about that,” Maher continued, noting that he had read up on the bill earlier in the day and there were certainly parts of it that seemed to make sense to him. “It’s — it’s — I mean, if people don’t know, this is something DeSantis is about to sign. And I guess it’s a reaction to Republicans who feel that there’s too much talk in lower grades. I think it’s only — they’re talking about kindergarten to third grade. So we’re talking about very young kids who, you know, as always with this stuff, you know this. It’s not like there’s no kernel of truth in that maybe kids that young shouldn’t be thinking about sex at all. I don’t think it’s specific.”
“I think, don’t say, it’s not like you’re not allowed to literally not say ‘gay,’ but they just don’t want teachers talking about it. They think it’s the province of parents,” Maher then turned the question to his guests. “What do you think?”
“What do you think, Frank? I’m curious,” Ungar-Sargon asked.
“I mean, that sounds reasonable on the face of it. I mean, I’m not — I’m not. My main concern, as a gay man who advocates for gay rights, is not that second-graders know who Harvey Milk is,” Bruni replied. “That is not the key to LGBTQ equality. But I mean, I also question, I mean, is this really need to be at the top of these politicians’ list? I mean, this is a total — it’s — this is…”
“No, it’s a wedge issue…” Maher pressed.
“This is — this is not going to improve Floridians’ lives. This is not an urgent problem,” Bruni insisted. “This is a dodge. It’s another culture war that’s meant to score cheap, easy points rather than really solving Americans’ problems.”
The bill passed the Florida Senate late last week and is expected to get Governor Ron DeSantis’ (R-FL) signature in the coming days. Notable opposition to the bill has come from as high up as the White House, where press secretary Jen Psaki members of the press corps that President Joe Biden views this bill and others like it as “a form of bullying.”
As The Daily Wire reported:
“A bill like this, that would discriminate against families, against kids, put these kids in the position of not getting the support they need at a time where that’s exactly what they need. It’s discriminatory. It’s a form of bullying. It is horrific. I mean, the president has spoken to that,” Psaki said.