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Florida Sued by Activists, Students, Parents, and Teachers Over LGBT School Censorship Bill

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Activist organizations and families affected by ’s bill restricting discussions on issues in have filed suit to stop it, arguing that it violates the First and 14th Amendment rights of students, parents, and teachers in the state.

H.B. 1557, known by its opponents as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, was passed by Florida’s Legislature earlier in the year and signed into law by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis in March. The bill’s supporters insist that its purpose is to stop inappropriate discussions of and gender in front of young school children from kindergarten through third grade.

But that’s not what the law actually says—it instead bans discussion about “sexual orientation or gender identity” in those grades, not sex. It further bans any discussion about topics that are not “age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students” without identifying what any of that means. It also allows parents of students to take schools to court and seek financial damages for violations of this very vaguely written law.

Nonprofit group Equality Florida filed suit Thursday in the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of Florida, joined by some gay and students in Florida schools, several gay couples with children in public schools, and a teacher.

The lawsuit describes H.B. 1557 as a bill that does not, in fact, stop overly vivid discussions of sex with children but instead attempts to censor speech about LGBT issues, sexual or not:

It offends principles of free speech and equal protection by seeking to censor discussions of sexual orientation or gender identity that recognize and respect LGBTQ people and their families. It offends due process by using broad and vague terms to define its prohibitions—thus inviting discriminatory enforcement and magnifying its chilling effect on speech. And it arises from discriminatory purposes and outdated sex-based stereotypes that offend deeply rooted constitutional and statutory requirements.

The lawsuit explains what people mean when they call it the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, even though the text of the bill doesn’t technically forbid saying “gay.” The bill authorizes families to sue over violations of terms that are never

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