Florida lawmakers gave final approval Tuesday for the new Parental Rights in Education bill, prompting widespread reaction across the country.
The bill — HB1557, which critics call the “Don’t Say Gay” bill — would ban discussion of LGBTQ topics and “sexual orientation or gender identity” in Florida’s public schools from kindergarten to third grade.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is expected to sign the bill once it reaches his desk. He has long supported the measure.
- “To provide protections for parents, for preschoolers, kindergarteners, first graders, I mean that is something, I think, most parents would appreciate,” DeSantis told reporters, according to CNN. “And we send the kids to school — young kids — and we want them to learn the basics. Some of these issues that are just simply not age-appropriate, I think parents want to see protection for that.”
But critics have spoken out against the bill in recent weeks, saying it might harm LGBTQ children for a number of reasons.
More recently, businesses, including Disney, spoke out against the bill, stoking a battle between private businesses and Florida’s governor.
Disney responds to the bill
Disney CEO Bob Chapek responded to the bill, saying at an annual meeting that the company opposed the legislation and wanted to work with lawmakers to improve it, according to Deadline.
- “I understand our political approach, no matter how well-intentioned, didn’t quite get the job done,” he said.
- “I look forward to visiting with the governor with a small delegation of cast members who are involved in this movement,” the CEO said.
- Chapek commented on the bill after LGBTQ members of Disney’s staff sent a letter to him, asking for his support against the bill, per Variety.
Other companies respond to the bill
Tech companies with Florida offices — such as Airbnb, Amazon, Twitter and Microsoft, among others — recently signed a petition organized by the Human Rights Campaign.
- However, the petition argues against anti-LGBTQ legislation and not Florida’s specific bill.
Florida’s governor responds to Disney and other companies
DeSantis, though, clapped back at Disney and other corporations that have been advocating against the bill, saying the Florida government won’t succumb to the wishes of “woke” businesses, according to Fox News.
- “When you have companies that have made a fortune off being family friendly and catering to families and young kids, they should understand that parents of young kids do not want this injected into their kid’s kindergarten classroom,” he said.
- “You have companies, like at Disney, that are going to say and criticize parents’ rights, they’re going to criticize the fact that we don’t want transgenderism in kindergarten in first grade classrooms,” he continued. “If that’s the hill they’re going to die on, then how do they possibly explain lining their pockets with their relationship from the Communist Party of China? Because that’s what they do, and they make a fortune, and they don’t say a word about the really brutal practices that you see over there at the hands of the CCP.
- “And so in Florida, our policies got to be based on the best interest of Florida citizens, not on the musing of woke corporations,” he added.