Florida ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Law Settled

(HorizonPost.com) – A settlement was reached on Monday in the lawsuit brought against the state of Florida by civil rights attorneys over the state’s Parental Rights in Education Act, bringing an end to two years of litigation, the Associated Press reported.

Under the settlement, the law, which was signed by Florida’s Republican Governor Ron DeSantis in May 2022, will permit teachers to discuss gender identity or sexual orientation as long as it is not a part of their formal instruction.

The settlement agreement aims to clarify what would be permitted in Florida classrooms under the law.

Opponents, who sneeringly referred to the Act as the “Don’t Say Gay” law, claimed that the language of the law created confusion over whether teachers could reveal their sexual orientation or even place rainbow stickers or flags in the classroom.

Under the settlement, the Florida Board of Education agreed to provide instructions to every Florida school district informing them that the law would not prohibit discussing LGBT individuals or prevent a district from including gender identity or sexual orientation in anti-bullying rules.

The settlement would also make it clear that the Parental Rights in Education Act is neutral. In short, by clarifying the neutrality of the law, the state would make it clear that the claims of the law’s opponents, including the media, were incorrect and the provisions apply, not just to “gays” but even to heterosexuals.

The Board of Education would also clarify that the law would not apply to library books that are not included in classroom instruction, nor would it apply to books that may have LGBT characters or make incidental references to them.

Governor DeSantis’s office described the settlement as a “major win.”

Attorney Ryan Newsman, who represented the state, said in a statement that the state “fought hard” to make sure that the Parental Rights in Education Act would not be “maligned” in court as it had been in the news media “and large corporate actors.”

Ryan said the state came out “victorious” and that Florida classrooms would remain “a safe place” for students under the law.

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