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Trump-Appointed Judge to Consider Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” Bill

May 6th, 2022

A judge recently ruled that an LGBTQ club in an Indiana high school was unlawfully discriminated against by the school principal.
Florida’s controversial “Don’t Say Gay” bill is headed to court after a group of students, parents and teachers filed a lawsuit in federal court.

Several plaintiffs recently initiated a lawsuit in federal court against the new “Don’t Say Gay” law in Florida, which is also referred to as House bill 1557. The measure was recently passed into law by Florida’s Governor DeSantis and bans discussion or mention of LGBTQ topics and people in grades K-3.

How the Lawsuit Against the Don’t Say Gay Law Arose

The lawsuit was initiated by students, parents, and teachers, in addition to the group Equality Florida, and claims that the order violates various rights like equal protection and due process. The lawsuits affirms that people who identify as LGBTQ+ and live the corresponding lifestyles have the same rights as heterosexual individuals. The lawsuit alleges this measure is designed to censor and silence LGBTQ+ individuals as well as to diminish their humanity.

The measure almost immediately met challenges. The law was assigned to a US District Judge, who is known for supporting Florida’s one-time prohibition on LGBTQ+ marriages.

At its core, the “Don’t Say Gay” bill restricts any type of teaching about LGBTQ+ issues, gender or sexuality. The ban is total for grades K to 3, while in grades 4 to 12, instructions must qualify as age or developmentally appropriate. Appropriateness in this context lacks a definition. The regulation lets parents place potential offenders before a board that will subject the potential offender to extensive investigation. When parents prevail, the parents receive both monetary compensation and lawyer’s fees. If the school wins, however, the parents receive nothing.

The “Don’t Say Gay” bill exists to discourage teachers from discussing any aspects of LGBTQ+ life. The law also prevents LGBTQ+ teachers as well as students from discussing their lifestyles without worrying about being subject to a lawsuit or being outed. The law is written so broadly as to stifle any free speech on LGBTQ+ topics from kindergarten through high school.

The Specifics of the Lawsuit Against Don’t Say Gay

A lawsuit brought against the “Don’t Say Gay” law identifies several constitutional violations including that it curtails students’ rights to receive information and express ideas, which are both guarded by the First Amendment. By issuing punishment based on prohibitions, the measure suggests arbitrary and discriminatory enforcement. The measure is motivated, the lawsuit claims, by hatred against LGBTQ+ individuals and teachers, which the Supreme Court of the United States has already classified as an infringement on equal protection. The measure also humiliates the children of same-sex couples by erasing their family and family history from the classroom and leaving them exposed to discrimination.

Other States Considering Similar Measures

At least eight other states are debating passing similar laws that would outlaw LGBTQ+ associated speech from the classroom. One measure would even jail instructors who violate it. These measures to erase the role of LGBTQ+ families by showing them as sexualized and unnatural are not likely to end anytime soon. While the landscape a decade ago was more LGBTQ+ friendly, the 234 judges installed by Trump have swayed the judiciary in a conservative direction. Many of these conservative judges will rule in favor of these anti-LGBTQ+ laws.

Continue Reading the Universal Life Church’s Blog

The goal of the Universal Life Church’s blog is to document the most recent developments regarding LGBTQ+ rights. We strive to do so in a way that explains both sides to each argument and which can be easily understood by readers.

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