DC Attorney General says ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill is unconstitutional

D.C.’s Attorney General is taking the lead in a fight against Florida’s so-called “Don’t Say Gay” law.

Karl Racine is leading a pack of 18 attorneys general who has filed a federal brief saying the law is unconstitutional.

They also contend that the Florida Act is causing, by example, significant harm to students, parents and teachers in other states.

The Act was designed to protect children and preserve parental choice around the teaching of LGBTQ+ issues.

It outlaws “classroom instruction” on those issues through the 3rd grade.

A group of students, parents, teachers and organizations are challenging the Act in federal district court. They say it violates the Equal Protection Clause and the First Amendment.

“My office has a strong track record of fighting for LGBTQ+ rights in the District and across the country to make sure that everyone can simply be who they are and love who they love,” Racine said. “Florida’s law offers no benefit to anyone and in fact puts children and families in harm’s way. We will continue to use all of our authority to help strike down this law and any other hateful, discriminatory policies that threaten people’s fundamental freedoms.”

The law requires that the state education agency write new classroom instructions for standards that must be followed by Grades 4 through 12, but the law does not define many of its key terms, like “classroom instruction,” so, Racine said in a statement, that Florida teachers are already “censoring themselves out of fear of the law.”

Racine said in a statement that the law is “causing significant harms to students, parents, teachers, and other states” and that “non-inclusive educational environments have severe negative health impacts on LGBTQ+ students, resulting in increased rates of mental health disorders and suicide attempts.”

Racine is leading the amicus brief with New Jersey AG Matthew J. Platkin, according to a release. They are joined by Attorneys General from California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Washington.

Valerie Bonk

Valerie Bonk started working at WTOP in 2016 and has lived in Howard County, Maryland, her entire life. She's thrilled to be a reporter for WTOP telling stories on air. She works as both a television and radio reporter in the Maryland and D.C. areas. 

Hillary Howard

Hillary Howard is a longtime Washington, D.C. broadcaster and storyteller who also hosts "It's Academic," the world's longest running TV quiz show on NBC Washington.

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