Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis put a journalist from Miami’s WFLA station in his place after he put forth a question about the state’s anti-child grooming bill, which bans educators from promoting woke “sexual identity and gender orientation” for children ages five through seven.
The controversial piece of legislation, Senate Bill 1834 “Parental Rights in Education”, has been dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill by Democrats and progressives. Critics of the conservative-led bill, which was passed in Florida’s House of Representatives by a 69-47 vote, have found support among Hollywood actors and the White House, who have pulled out every stop to oppose its passage.
The bill passed in the state senate on Tuesday by a 12-8 vote. It will now head to the governor’s office to be signed into law. Once passed into law, the new legislation will go into effect before the start of the 2022-2023 school year.
In Tallahassee on Monday, journalists tried to grill DeSantis over the bill’s passage in the senate.
Evan Donovan, a reporter for WFLA asked DeSantis, “Can I ask you about the ‘Parental Rights in Education’ what critics call the ‘Don’t Say Gay Bill’ is on the senate floor, we know that you support…”
DeSantis interrupted: “Does it say that in the bill?”
“I’m asking you if…,” Donovan replied.
“Does it say that in the bill?,” DeSantis repeated. “I’m asking you to tell me what’s in the bill because you are pushing false narratives. It doesn’t matter what critics say.”
“It says advanced classroom instruction on sexual identity and gender orientation,” replied the reporter.
“For who? For grades Pre-K through 3. Five-year-olds, six-year-olds, seven-year-olds. And the idea that you wouldn't be honest about that and tell people what it actually says. It's why people don't trust people like you because you peddle false narratives,” corrected DeSantis, to applause.
“And so we disabuse you of those narratives,” the governor continued. “And we're gonna make sure that parents are able to send their kid to kindergarten without having some of this stuff injected into their school curriculum."
Democrats across Florida have rallied to prevent its passage, posting TikTok videos of themselves walking down school hallways while chanting the words “we say gay.”
“Creating boundaries at an early age of what is appropriate in our schools, when we are funding our schools, is not hate,” said Florida Rep. Joe Harding, contradicting claims by trans activists opposed to the bill. “It’s actually providing boundaries, and it’s fair to our teachers and our school districts to know what we expect.”
Harding has repeatedly stressed that the bill will not prohibit students from talking about their LGBTQ experiences or family members, or ban classrooms from having discussions about LGBTQ history, including the Stonewall Riots or the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando in 2016.