During a recent interview with David Rubin, Gov. DeSantis explained his actions related to Disney and their position on the Parental Rights in Education bill.
DeSantis told Rubin that early in the 2022 Florida legislative session he became aware that activists would be pushing a false narrative about the Parental Rights in Education legislation around the “Don’t Say Gay” slogan.
DeSantis said, “I started fighting back against them because they were just lying to people and it’s offensive when they’re lying and so we start fighting back and I would literally have these reporters, I’d say ‘okay where does it say that in the bill?’ okay it doesn’t say that in the bill what does it say?”
DeSantis then discussed Disney’s decision to get involved with opposing the legislation.
DeSantis said, “Then you had this situation where you had the corporations, mostly Disney, deciding to get involved and I think people look at that they’re like first of all I don’t know why they got involved in this, it was a huge mistake for them …. I think they’ve lost 60 billion in market cap since they got involved.”
Not long after signing the “Anti-Grooming” Parental Rights in Education bill into law on Monday, Governor DeSantis’ office fielded questions about concerns related to possible boycotts of Florida businesses.
The legislation, which bans educators from exposing students from kindergarten to third grade (5 to 8-year-olds) to detailed lessons on gender identity and sexual orientation, was dubbed by critics as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.
But among Americans, the proposal enjoyed broad support. One poll by Politico/Morning Consult found that 52 percent of respondents agreed that young children should not be taught the sophisticated concepts underpinning gender and sexual ideologies. Only 33 percent opposed the bill, while 15 percent said they had no opinion.
A new poll of Democrat voters in Florida shows that a majority of Democrats support limits on teaching sexual orientation in schools as required by the Parental Rights in Education bill.
The poll was conducted from March 17-20 for Floridians for Economic Advancement, a political committee that has supported state legislative candidates from both parties.
The poll comes amid national protests against the Parental Rights in Education bill that critics have labeled the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. The bill “prohibits a school district from encouraging 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.”
The main focus of the poll was the Democrat gubernatorial primary. Those results indicated that shows 43% of likely Democratic Primary voters favor Charlie Crist, with 33% picking Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, and 15% liking state Sen. Annette Taddeo. Only about 8% of respondents started out unsure.
However, the poll also asked about a specific provision of the Parental Rights in Education bill.
A USA Today opinion columnist called a Florida lawmaker a “rotten bigot” and said God destroyed part of the lawmaker’s home. Michael J. Stern, the columnist, recently tweeted on Wednesday that he did not believe in God, but the news of Florida State Rep. Joe Harding’s (R-Williston) home being seriously damaged was causing him to reconsider.
The spokesperson for Governor DeSantis, Christina Pushaw, responded to the “Don’t Say Gay” label with a moniker of her own and outrage ensued from LGBTQ advocates.
Pushaw tweeted that the “bill that liberals inaccurately call “Don’t Say Gay” would be more accurately described as an Anti-Grooming Bill.” And added, “If you’re against the Anti-Grooming Bill, you are probably a groomer or at least you don’t denounce the grooming of 4-8-year-old children. Silence is complicity. This is how it works, Democrats, and I didn’t make the rules.”
The backlash was quick.
First, Joe Saunders, the political director for Equality Florida responded by mischaracterizing Pushaw’s comments.
Saunders tweeted, “@GovRonDeSantis chief spokesperson just called us all pedophiles. We’ve always known the #dontsaygaybill was a about anti-lgbtq animus. She just said the quiet part out loud. DSG is on the Senate floor Mon and students are organizing. Bring your outrage to Tallahassee #flapol.”
On Friday, Governor DeSantis pushed back on the media for labeling the Parental Rights in Education legislation the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.
During a press conference a reporter asked DeSantis if he had any comments “on the protests against the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill?” DeSantis took the opportunity to address the use of the “Don’t Say Gay” label by the reporter.
“You call it that. I’ve not seen that in any of these bills. Where is that coming from? You’re in the news business. Does the truth matter or not? Is that in any of the bills?”, asked DeSantis.
The actual language in the Parental Rights in Education bill “prohibits a school district from encouraging 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.”
However LGBTQ advocates and the legacy media have used the “Don’t Say Gay” label to repeatedly characterize the legislation.
For example, Equality Florida recently released a television advertisement “blasting” Governor DeSantis over the legislation, which the group describes as “LGBTQ censorship.”
Equality Florida, an LGBTQ advocacy group, released a television advertisement on Monday “blasting” Governor DeSantis over the Parental Rights in Education Bill (SB 1834), which the group describes as “LGBTQ censorship and surveillance agenda.”
Critics of the Parental Rights in Education legislation labeled it the “Don’t Say Gay” bill and have refused to answer questions about the other provisions of the bill, focused on parental rights. These provisions require parental notification related to certain actions taken at school and “adopt procedures that reinforce the fundamental right of parents to make decisions regarding the upbringing and control of their children.”
The ad, shown below, refers to a provision in the Parental Rights in Education bill that “prohibits a school district from encouraging 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.”
The ad shows a student giving a classroom presentation. When the student mentions she has two moms, alarms start going off in the classroom and she is asked to report to the office.
Equality Florida contends that “the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill, which bans discussion of LGBTQ in primary grades, would further stigmatize the LGBTQ community, chill efforts to create inclusive school environments, and isolate LGBTQ young people who are already at staggeringly higher risk of depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation than their peers.”
President Joe Biden (D) and the White House entered the debate focused on Florida House Bill 7 by Representative Bryan Avila (R-District 111). On Twitter Tuesday, both the White House account and the president’s account chimed in, criticizing Florida’s Republican lawmakers for their support of the legislation.
Florida Rep. Anna Eskamani has been a vocal critic of the the Parental Rights in Education bill, however – when given the opportunity – she refused to answer specific questions about the proposed legislation.
Eskamani told CNN that she “whole-heartedly opposes” the legislation, affirming that “it’s always appropriate to acknowledge that LGBTQ+ people and families exist, and any effort to erase them is rooted in homophobia and transphobia.”
Eskamani and other progressive leaders and organizations have labeled the proposal the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, based on a provision that prohibits a school district from encouraging classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity in primary grade levels.
State Representative Carlos Guillermo-Smith (D-District 49), an openly LGBTQ Latino legislator, said, “We should and we are encouraging these types of conversations in our schools.”
However, the bill address a number of issues related to parental rights.