Florida Legislature Expands “Don’t Say LGBTQ” Law, Restricts Parental Rights

Florida Legislature Expands “Don’t Say LGBTQ” Law, Restricts Parental Rights

TALLAHASSEE, FL -- By a vote of 27-12, the Florida Senate passed HB 1069 today, which now heads to the Governor’s desk. The bill expands last year’s bigoted Don’t Say LGBTQ law by extending the complete ban on “classroom instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity” through 8th grade. These provisions come just two weeks after the DeSantis administration used executive rulemaking to administratively ban the same instruction through 12th grade. The Don’t Say LGBTQ Expansion Bill also revokes a parent’s right to ensure that school personnel address their child with the correct title and pronouns, allowing schools to rely exclusively on a student’s sex assigned at birth. The bill also dramatically accelerates book banning efforts in Florida, allowing any person in a county to automatically remove a book from school shelves pending a lengthy review on the grounds of certain objections.

“The Don’t Say LGBTQ law has already caused sweeping damage across our state,” said Jon Harris Maurer, Equality Florida Public Policy Director. “It was wrong when it was adopted, and expanding it is wrong now. Books are being removed en masse. Rainbows are being censored from classrooms. Districts are refusing to recognize the historical contributions of LGBTQ people for fear of the Governor’s wrath. This expansion exacerbates the damaging impacts being felt by students and families in Florida. Parents should have the right to ensure their children are respected in the classroom. Our schools should be celebrating the diverse families that make up our communities, not erasing them. Shame on Governor DeSantis and lawmakers perpetuating a political crusade against LGBTQ Floridians.”

The Don’t Say LGBTQ law, first adopted last year, has already led to a widespread anti-LGBTQ chilling effect in Florida’s schools. Books with LGBTQ characters and authors, along with characters and authors of color, have been banned in numerous districts. Rainbow “Safe Space” stickers and Pride flags have been torn from classroom walls. Districts have rejected LGBTQ History Month. And school boards across the state have descended into chaos as their new right wing majorities turn classrooms into political battlefields. Governor DeSantis’ war on LGBTQ people is fueling a growing mental health crisis and an exodus of talent from Florida. The state’s shortage of K-12 educators ballooned this year, eclipsing 8,000 in January, as teachers grow tired of being underpaid, overworked, and used as pawns in the Governor’s right wing agenda. A majority of LGBTQ families surveyed by the Williams Institute said they had considered leaving Florida altogether as a result of the law, with nearly 15% indicating that they had made plans to do so. And the number of LGBTQ youth who say that their mental health is being negatively impacted by these policies has surged, an ominous warning that the students most at risk of depression, anxiety, and suicidality are in a state of crisis.

HB 1069’s passage comes amidst an onslaught of anti-LGBTQ, anti-freedom bills that have been fast tracked by a GOP-led legislature acting as a rubber stamp for the Governor’s agenda. On Tuesday, the Senate sent SB 1580 to the Governor’s desk, known as the License to Discriminate in Healthcare. The bill creates a broad license for health care providers and insurance companies to refuse services based on a “religious, moral, or ethical belief.” Despite fears from LGBTQ advocates that this could open the door for discrimination in health care services for LGBTQ families and other minorities, the bill passed on a party line vote.


Equality Florida is the largest civil rights organization dedicated to securing full equality for Florida’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community. Through education, grassroots organizing, coalition building, and lobbying, we are changing Florida so that no one suffers harassment or discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity.


October 2010

May 2010

October 2009

July 2009

June 2009

May 2009

April 2009