Well, that didn’t take long.
LGBT activists filed a lawsuit to strike down Florida’s Parental Rights in Education law, which reinforces the right of parents to direct their children’s upbringing and education.
The suit calls into question these important issues: Do parents have the right to guide and direct their children’s education? Should schools introduce small children to topics related to adult sexuality? And can school staff withhold information about students from “unsafe” parents?
The lawsuit says:
Florida House Bill 1557 (widely known as the “Don’t Say Gay” law) is an unlawful attempt to stigmatize, silence, and erase LGBTQ people in Florida’s public schools. …
Through H.B. 1557, Florida would deny to an entire generation that LGBTQ people exist and have equal dignity. This effort to control young minds through state censorship – and to demean LGBTQ lives by denying their reality—is a grave abuse of power.
- Classroom discussions of sexual orientation and gender identity may not occur in kindergarten through grade three or, in any grade, in a manner that is not age- or developmentally appropriate.
- Schools must notify parents about changes in students’ mental, emotional or physical well-being.
- Schools must obtain parental permission before administering well-being questionnaires or health screening forms to students in K-3rd grade.
What’s not to like? Who thinks a five-year-old boy should be taught that he might really be a girl? Or that first graders need to have the ever-growing list of “gender identities” and “sexual orientations” explained to them?
Well, opponents of parental rights evidently think children need to learn about adult sexuality in school.
Hollywood celebrities, old media, LGBT activists and the business world – including The Walt Disney Co. – were infuriated. They widely and falsely attacked the parental rights measure as the “Don’t Say Gay” law.
These groups believe children should be taught about adult sexual identities, attractions and behaviors. They also believe that schools should withhold information about a child’s mental health from parents – because parents might not be “safe.”
The LGBT activist group Family Equality, a plaintiff in the lawsuit, called the bill “dangerous” and said it would “encourage schools to ‘out’ LGBTQ+ youth to potentially unsafe families” and “undermine existing protections for LGBTQ+ youth and families in schools.”
Equality Florida, another plaintiff, is “the largest civil rights organization dedicated to securing full equality for Florida’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community.” Parents, students and a teacher are also part of the lawsuit.
One of the plaintiffs, “Jane Doe,” is a fifth grader who was born male. The suit says, “From around age two, when Doe started expressing herself, it was clear that although she was assigned male at birth, Doe identified as a girl.”
Seriously? Two-year-olds don’t “identify” as anything. But Doe’s lawyers seem to be quite serious about this claim.
A seventeen-year-old sophomore who is part of the suit “has known that he is gay since a very early age,” but “he did not come out to his family and friends until middle school.”
Other plaintiffs include a lesbian-identified couple and a gay-identified couple with children in Florida schools, along with a middle school teacher who likes to explain “the relevance of LGBTQ identity and history to the literature and authors she teaches.” The teacher also likes to engage with students about literature “through their own experiences with LGBTQ identity and family.”
The suit says the law has a discriminatory purpose and will harm students, parents and families. It says the law is unconstitutional because it is vague, violates the Fourteenth Amendment’s equal protection clause, and abridges free speech and freedom of expression. The suit also says it discriminates on the basis of sex, and so violates Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.
Attorneys from the National Center for Lesbian Rights and from Kaplan, Hecker and Fink (KHF) filed the complaint in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida.
Roberta Kaplan, founding partner of KHF, successfully argued before the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of United States v. Windsor, a landmark suit where the Court held that a portion of the Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional for denying federal recognition of same-sex marriages.
Florida legislators stood strong in passing the law – in the face of great opposition from cultural elites. Let’s pray the state stays strong as it protects children and supports parental rights in education.
Related articles and resources:
Photo from Shutterstock.