Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity Bill Advances in Senate

Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity Bill Advances in Senate

TALLAHASSEE — The Florida Senate is poised to consider a controversial measure that would prohibit school instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in early grade levels, as one Republican called on lawmakers to “soften” the bill when it is heard on the Senate floor.

The Senate Appropriations Committee approved the bill (HB 1557) in a 12-8 vote along almost straight party lines. Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, voted with Democrats against the measure.

The House passed the bill last week in a 69-47 vote, with six Republicans joining Democrats in opposition.

The bill says classroom instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity “may not occur” in kindergarten through third-grade.

For higher grade levels, the proposal calls for such instruction to be age-appropriate and developmentally appropriate as determined by state academic standards.

The measure has drawn heavy opposition from groups that have repeatedly argued it singles out LGBTQ people. Dozens of people spoke in opposition to the bill Monday during an at-times tense committee meeting.

“I am deeply concerned about the mental health and the physical health of the adolescents and kids that could be affected by this. I do agree that conversations should be age appropriate, but I do not agree that we should be adopting into law any discriminatory language that would single out specific people,” said Joseph Knoll, CEO of SPEKTRUM Health, an Orlando clinic that serves LGBTQ people.

The measure also aims to prevent school districts from adopting policies that could “prohibit school district personnel from notifying a parent about his or her student’s mental, emotional, or physical health or well-being” or changes to a student’s services.

Parents would be able to sue school districts for violations of the bill. The proposal also includes an alternative process to resolve such disputes, which would involve administrative hearings before special magistrates.

Jon Harris Maurer, public policy director for LGBTQ-advocacy organization Equality Florida, expressed concern that the measure could open the door to “a new basis for sweeping litigation against school districts that will have a chilling effect on support for LGBTQ youth.”

Opponents of the bill also have argued that the changes would remove schools and teachers as a lifeline for vulnerable LGBTQ students.

But Senate bill sponsor Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, argued that children are not “wards of the state” and that parents should have control over decisions that impact their kids.

“We are moving, and have been moving, in a direction of empowerment of parents. That they’re supposed to be in charge,” Baxley said. “And so, in following in that pathway, what we are finding is there are many more what I call social engineering approaches that are being done that I think go far beyond where families want to go. And that we need to pursue this (bill) in a pathway where we honor those parental rights.”

Several opponents of the bill took issue with Baxley’s use of the term “social engineering.”

Senate Minority Leader Lauren Book, D-Plantation, disputed that educators are teaching sex- or gender-related curriculums to young students that are inappropriate for the grade levels. Book recalled working as a kindergarten teacher.

“I still remember their names and all of their favorites. What I don’t ever remember was telling my young students, ‘Don’t worry, you don’t have to pick a gender.’ I don’t remember teaching, quote, LGTBQ propaganda from secret lesson plans, and I don’t remember breaking any Florida law by telling a parent that they couldn’t review my lesson plans,” Book said. “It didn’t happen then, and it doesn’t happen now.”

The committee approved the bill after rejecting a change proposed by Brandes. The change sought to prohibit school instruction on “human sexuality or sexual activity” in kindergarten through third-grade, rather than lessons on sexual orientation or gender identity.

“We want to ensure that everything is captured, not just gender and sexual orientation. No sexual-natured conversation should be happening. It is not OK for 7-year-olds to be having conversations about intercourse with their teacher if it does not fall within the current standards,” Brandes said. “If the intent of this bill isn’t to marginalize anyone, let’s make sure we aren’t by passing this amendment.”

After the Republican-controlled panel rejected the change, Brandes again petitioned his colleagues to consider revising the measure when it reaches the Senate floor.

“Can we find a way to modify the language in such a way that our neighbors in this room don’t feel harmed? I have to believe the answer to that question is yes. The language could be broadened,” Brandes said.

10 Responses to "Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity Bill Advances in Senate"

  1. So it is thought that, at least, 20 million US residents, or 8% of the US are LGBTQ. And those are people who will admit to it.

    And you guys like to pretend that it’s people you don’t know, when it certainly is. Those people are members of your family and friends, even if they won’t say.

    No one is teaching sex ed in elementary school. But, gay couples, gay marriage and being transgender is legal in the US and banning someone from talking about it in age-appropriate way is only going to make those kids and people ashamed and objects of ridicule.

    Why the Republicans have decided to be completely a*a backward on virtually every issue you can name these days is a mystery to me.

  2. Leave sex out of schools all together! Do your job and teach our children math, sciences, Sports and PE, actual history (not Cancel culture), trade skills, music and other creative arts. Let the parents make the decisions on teaching their children about sex, when they are ready. Only parents should know these things, otherwise get the parents some therapy. Live and let live has always worked in our society. Give a minority group an inch and they will ask for a mile. Once you open that door, it’s now come to this BS.

  3. The LGBTQMICKEYWXYZ group is a small block of leftists that want to control the agenda. While cow-towing to them, the Democrats are busy putting severe economic pressure on the middle class, turning more of them into dependents of the Democrat handout programs and presumably more Democratically aligned voters. It’s all part of the same game plan.

    LGBGQ — Swearing that they’re just like everybody else while hiding behind a name that highlights that they’re not even like each other.

  4. Rush Limbaugh said, the LGBTQUGK+ people will never be happy. Remember when they wanted to serve quietly in the Military and Clinton let them? Not happy. Now the guys want to wear dresses and serve as women, openly-still not happy. The gay community will never be happy. The LGBTQUGK+ is a very small, vocal community that our local leaders feel is their voting base. I bet they represent less than 1% of the population. They are not happy to simply live their perverted lives quietly-no way. They want to infiltrate our Churches and Lives. They want to pervert our children.

    I say Screw You (no pun intended). I will never accept the LGBTQUGK+ lifestyle as anything other than immoral and a mental illness.

  5. The big picture is leftists see LGBTQ individuals as ALL reliably voting the Democratic Party into power each and every election. Therefore leftists want more and more of LGBTQ individuals in the voter base and see the early indoctrination of your youngsters as the best way to invest your tax dollars for a future of Democratic Party control. No it’s not about freedom to ____ which ever gender you want to ____. It’s about political party control.

  6. I hope the school boards have insurance for all the lawsuits that are to come in the future from these children who they are manipulating and messing up their minds today, because those children are going to wake up when they’re adults to the horrors of this terrible abuse.

    The lawsuits that are to come and they will come will dissolve the school system if they don’t get back on course and stop this abuse.

  7. The only people that find this controversial are the lunatics that write about it. Teach them to read and write, and when you reach point where 80% of the students can do it satisfactorily? We’ll talk about letting you teach them something else. I’m thinking drivers ed. would be something useful you could add. 49% is a long way from 80% so you gotta lotta work to do.

    Everyone has lost their minds.

  8. None of this ignorant perversion belongs in K-12 public schools… period. This all started when we sat on our hands while they took God out of schools, and left the doors wide open for satan to walk right in and have his way… and have his way he has.

    Note to you Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato Group of Quacks… You’re not special, you’re just different. Live your life, do no harm, and be a law abiding productive member of a civil society… and shut up about your personal bedroom habits.

    You can legislate tolerance… but you cannot legislate acceptance of an unhealthy and unnatural lifestyle choice.

  9. “Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, voted with Democrats against the measure.” The RINO needs to be primaried.

    “The House passed the bill last week in a 69-47 vote, with six Republicans joining Democrats in opposition.” This is what is wrong with the Republican Party. Who are the six RINOs? They need to be primaried.

    “The proposal also includes an alternative process to resolve such disputes, which would involve administrative hearings before special magistrates.” This sounds like a loophole. What if the magistrates are, essentially, appointed by the LGBT special interest groups?

  10. Screw the LGBTQ People, they’re proving to be a bunch of Pedo’s.

    “For higher grade levels, the proposal calls for such instruction to be age-appropriate and developmentally appropriate as determined by state academic standards.” ……………. age-appropriate and developmentally appropriate are problem words. LGBTQ People actually think that K-3 is age-appropriate and developmentally appropriate to tell them all about being LGBTQ and how Gays have Sex.

    The Law needs to prohibit school instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in early grade levels, K thru 8th Grade. THEN let the High School Student decide if they want to learn about it in School or NOT.

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