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6 in 10 oppose Florida’s barbaric ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill, poll suggests, as copycats spread across US

Lily Wakefield March 15, 2022
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The "Say Gay Anyway" rally in Miami Beach, Florida

Members and supporters of the LGBT+ community attend the "Say Gay Anyway" rally in Miami Beach, Florida on 13 March, 2022. (AFP via Getty/ CHANDAN KHANNA)

New polling has suggested that most Americans are against Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill as similar bills emerge up and down the country.

The survey, conducted by Ipsos with ABC News, asked a nationally representative sample of 622 US adults whether they “support or oppose legislation that would prohibit classroom lessons about sexual orientation or gender identity in elementary school”.

It comes as Florida’s governor is expected to sign into law the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill, formally known as the Parental Rights in Education bill, which would ban discussion of LGBT+ issues in schools.

The Ipsos-ABC News poll found that while 37 per cent of respondents supported such legislation, a hefty majority of 62 per cent opposed it. One per cent opted not to answer.

Florida governor Ron DeSantis has signalled that he will sign the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill into law after it was approved by the state’s senate on 8 March.

The bill would ban “classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity in primary grade levels or in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students”.

Copycat bills aiming to erase LGBT+ issues from education are already cropping up across the US, making the widespread opposition encouraging.

Hours after the Florida state senate passed ‘Don’t Say Gay’, Georgia lawmakers filed their own version of the bill, SB 613, formally titled the “Common Humanity in Private Education Act”.

The almost identical bill would ban schools from encouraging “classroom discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity” both in primary grade levels, and “in a manner that is not appropriate for the age and developmental stage of the student”.

Oklahoma lawmakers have proposed SB 1142, criminalising any school official, teacher or librarian that offers books on LGBT+ issues.

In Tennessee this week, a House panel advanced a bill, HB 800, that would ban public schools from using textbooks and instructional materials that “promote, normalise, support or address controversial social issues” including LGBT+ “lifestyles”. 

In Wisconsin, the Republican-controlled state senate recently passed Assembly Bill 963, which would give parents the right to review “instructional materials and outlines” used in their child’s school, and to sue public school staff for using their child’s chosen name and pronouns if they are opposed to their identity. The bill would allow parents to sue government bodies and officials when these rights are violated. 

 

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