On Thursday, two LGBTQ activist groups officially sued the state of Florida over the Parental Rights In Education law, which was recently signed by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R). The law bans classroom instruction on gender identity and sexual orientation for children in grades kindergarten through third grade in the state while providing legal recourse for parents who suspect teachers or school administrators may be in violation of the law.
The Associated Press reported that Equality Florida as well as Family Equality filed the suit in federal court, “alleging that the law violates the constitutionally protected rights of free speech, equal protection and due process of students and families.”
“This effort to control young minds through state censorship — and to demean LGBTQ lives by denying their reality — is a grave abuse of power,” the lawsuit says, according to the AP.
“The United States Supreme Court has repeatedly affirmed that LGBTQ people and their families are at home in our constitutional order. The State of Florida has no right to declare them outcasts, or to treat their allies as outlaws, by punishing schools where someone dares to affirm their identity and dignity,” the lawsuit added.
As The Daily Wire has previously reported, critics have incorrectly labeled the law the “Don’t Say Gay Bill.” The Left has branded the proposal in a way that has given some people the false impression that it bans teachers and school kids from even mentioning the word “gay” in public schools at all.
But as pointed out recently by NPR, what the law actually does is prohibit instruction on LGBTQ topics for kindergarten through third-graders, provides parents more transparency by requiring schools to notify them of any change in mental, physical, or emotional well being, and allows schools to opt-out of that if there is a reasonable fear that notifying a parent would result in abuse.
Nonetheless, the lawsuit filed on Thuesday claims that the law “deliberately employs broad terms and invites arbitrary and discriminatory enforcement, empowering parents to be roving censors who can sue school boards for damages based on any perceived violation,” according to the AP.
The AP also reported that the law actually states, “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.” It also grants parents the option to sue.
The law has gained national attention, even drawing the ire of the Walt Disney World Corporation, based in Florida.
On Wednesday, The Daily Wire reported that a recent video that went viral online appeared to show the head of Equality Florida suggesting to Disney employees that lawmakers enacting legislation protecting the innocence of children are eventually trying to “criminalize” gay parents and “take your kids.” (Disclosure: The Daily Wire has announced plans for kids entertainment content.)
“When we react to this,” Equality Florida Nadine Smith apparently tells Disney employees in a virtual meeting, according to a video posted by City Journal writer Chris Rufo, “a lot of us are reacting from the pain we experienced being isolated and stigmatized in school, but we are also reacting from the reality that when they can erase you, when they can criminalize your existence when they can demonize who you are, the next step is to criminalize you and take your kids.”
During the signing ceremony for the law last week, DeSantis promised citizens that Florida’s government “will make sure that parents can send their kids to school to get an education, not an indoctrination.”