Critics of 'Don't Say Gay' bill worry it is too broad

House Bill 1557, what many are calling the "Don’t Say Gay" bill, has passed through the Florida House.

If the bill becomes law, schools would not be allowed to teach about sexual orientation or gender identity to students in third grade or younger.  For older students, the topics couldn’t be taught unless they are deemed age-appropriate.

"When I read the initial text of it, I knew that it was something that would be concerning for a family like ours down the road," said Brandon Kneeld.

Brandon and his husband, Akihito, have been married for five years now.  Their son, Andrew, is three years old and will start school next year.

The bill is focused on curriculum, but they think it’s too broad. It would also allow parents to sue schools that break the rule.

"When you put things behind the curtain when you push it off onto the parents, that’s essentially saying this is a taboo subject that we don’t talk about in public, it’s not a polite conversation to have," Kneeld said. "I like to think we’re a very polite family."

Backers of the bill argue this is about parental choice and say these topics and conversations are best left up to the parents.

"It’s naive, selfish, and ignorant of us to believe that parenting ends when you send your child to school and that the child’s health and well-being starts at the starting bell and ends at dismissal," said State Rep. Kaylee Tuck, R-Lake Placid, on the House floor. "We should not be aiding and abetting a war on parents."

The bill is now heading to the state senate to be debated further.

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