Saying the law will “stigmatize and harm LGBTQ youth,” attorneys general from 15 states and the District of Columbia are seeking to help those challenging a new Florida law restricting gender identity and sexual orientation instruction in schools. Florida public.
States and the District of Columbia requested approval this week to file a brief in support of a constitutional challenge brought by LGBTQ advocacy groups Equality Florida and Family Equality and other plaintiffs. The law (HB 1557) prevents instruction on gender identity and sexual orientation in kindergarten through third grade and requires that such instruction be “age-appropriate…according to state academic standards” in grades superiors.
Republican lawmakers called the measure the “Parental Rights in Education” bill. Opponents labeled it the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. The state has asked US District Judge Allen Winsor to dismiss the challenge.
But all 15 states and the District of Columbia argue that the case should not be dismissed. They filed a motion Wednesday seeking approval to file a friend-of-the-court brief. They also attached a copy of the brief.
“In short, Florida’s extreme approach implies the absence of a legitimate pedagogical purpose, making its restrictions on speech and minority targeting highly suspect,” the report said. “And the experiences of (all 15) states show that reasonable policies are available that are LGBTQ-inclusive, encourage free speech, and accommodate parents. Florida’s turn, instead, to restrict speech and target a minority provides further evidence of the law’s unconstitutionality.”
The 15 states are California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, and Oregon.