Florida lawmakers spent nearly three and a half hours today debating and listening to the public on legislation that has been dubbed the Don’t Say Gay Bill. This gives parents more rights to be included in discussions about their child’s sexuality and gender identity. As Mike Vasilinda tells us, the bill is now one step away from the governors office.
Legislation prohibits teacher-led discussions about sexual orientation and gender identity. GOP state senator Jeff Brandes proposed an amendment to cover anything inappropriate”
“If the intent isn’t to marginalize anyone, let’s make sure it’s not,” Brandes told committee members.
It failed. two parents then talked about secret discussions at school with their children about their sexuality. Brandy Andrews said it could have happened to her tomboyish daughter.
“My daughter’s school had no problem calling me to say she violated the school dress code,” Andrews said, “but current guidelines at Flordia schools state that ‘They don’t have to call me and tell me she wants to be a boy.
Opponents argued that they knew they were gay from an early age.
“Since before kindergarten,” said one commenter.
Port Orange teacher Tamara Parker called the bill vague.
“I worked to bond with my parents in my class, and that’s not it,” she told the committee.
The Christian Family Coalition Florida was asked if they thought the discussion might
“make someone gay?” asked Sen. Jason Pizzo (D-Miami).
Anthony Verdugo, founder of the Christian Family Coalition Florida responded, “Kindergarteners should hear that there are forty-seven different sexual preferences, or a hundred different sexual identities.”
Unlike previous hearings, the audience had almost an hour and a half to speak today, and that still wasn’t enough time for everyone.
During the debate, Senator Jason Pizzo pointedly asked “why are we picking on people?”
Godfather Dennis Baxley (R-Ocala) responded.
“And I believe it’s imperative, if we love kids, that we put parents in the driver’s seat.”
Outside of Equality Florida, supporters have regrouped.
The bill is now before the full Senate.