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For Immediate Release

Contact

ACLU of Florida Media Office, media@aclufl.org

Press Release

ACLU of Florida Denounces ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill (HB1557), Signed into Law by Governor DeSantis

The censorship law will directly harm Florida students and teachers.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -

Today, Governor Ron DeSantis signed House Bill 1557 (HB 1557) into law. The law bans school districts and teachers from discussing topics related to LGBTQ+ issues, including banning any conversations about sexual orientation or gender identity in K-3 or any grade level in a manner that is not deemed “age-appropriate.”

This law will go into effect starting July 1, 2022.

Amy Turkel, interim executive director of the ACLU of Florida, responded with the following:

“Today is a tragic day for all Floridians, especially LGBTQ+ families, students, and teachers. Governor DeSantis and the politicians who supported this anti-LGBTQ+ law are seeking to erase LGBTQ+ families from our communities.

“Because of this anti-LGBTQ+ law, teachers and students will be silenced from speaking and learning about LGBTQ+ siblings, family members, friends, neighbors, and icons.

“This law is unconstitutional and dangerous. Students have a First Amendment right to receive information at school, free of political or partisan censorship. Banning talk about parents serves no legitimate educational purpose and in fact, is detrimental to students. Targeting LGBTQ+ youth and families is discriminatory, cruel, and an impediment to students’ and teachers’ rights to equal protection under the law. All young people deserve an inclusive and accurate education, free from censorship or discrimination.

“Governor DeSantis has done nothing to help, support, or protect our youth by signing this bill into law, and has only caused more harm to students and their families. This law stigmatizes LGBTQ+ people, isolates LGBTQ+ kids, and makes teachers fearful of providing a welcoming and inclusive classroom. It will have a real and devastating impact on LGBTQ+ youth, who already experience higher rates of bullying and suicide. At a time when Governor DeSantis and others are spreading dangerous misinformation about transgender youth, we need more access to education, not less.

“Under this law, LGBTQ+ students and teachers are no longer allowed to be visible in their schools. Florida schools should be safe spaces for all students and teachers, not places where their very existence is rejected and erased. It is always appropriate to teach kids to be kind, generous, loving, and supportive; this is how we raise respectful and humane adults.

“This anti-LGBTQ+ law is a disgrace and is extremely harmful to all Floridians. Governor DeSantis should be ashamed of signing it into law.”

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The mission of the ACLU of Florida is to protect, defend, strengthen, and promote the constitutional rights and liberties of all people in Florida. We envision a fair and just Florida, where all people are free, equal under the law, and live with dignity.

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