Hundreds rally against “Don't Say Gay Bill” and others at city hall

Hundreds of people gathered outside Orlando City Hall Saturday afternoon to speak out against a slate of bills being considered in the state legislature.

Some of them, like the so-called "Don't Say Gay Bill," passed the state house this week.

While some lawmakers say the legislation is meant to protect parents and students, people at the rally called them hateful.

"Hate does not belong here in the City Beautiful," said Brandon Wolf from Equality Florida.

The crowd didn't just hear from leaders of LGBTQ groups, but from educators, State Rep. Anna Eskamani who's trying to fight the bills and from Orlando's Mayor Buddy Dyer.

"Here at Orlando City Hall, every one of you is welcome, every one of you is loved and every one of your voice will be heard," Dyer said.

Speakers denouncing the so-called "Don't Say Gay Bill,' which would prevent schools from teaching younger children about sexual orientation and gender identity.

Supporters of the bills say it's crucial to give parents more say in their kids' education.

"All kids should be safe," said State Senator Dennis Baxley in an interview with FOX 35 on Tuesday. "I don’t have a problem with that. But if you’re developing some kind of agenda of confirmation for a lifestyle that may or may not be the kind of direction that this family wants to move in, that’s a priority."

Cory Fisher runs an LGBTQ+ rugby team in Orlando.

In school in the early 2000's, he says it was crucial for him to have teachers he could talk to about coming out.

"I believe that if this bill gets passed, it will move us steps backwards into fear and isolation rather than the place that we have that is understanding and inclusive mindset right now," Fisher said.

HB 1557 will be heard in the senate on Monday.