Several civil rights groups have joined the National Center for Lesbian Rights and families in Florida to bring the first lawsuit against the state’s new Parental Rights in Education law.
The lawsuit filed in federal court on Thursday argues that the new law, which prohibits instructors from teaching about sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten through third-grade classrooms, “is an unlawful attempt to stigmatize, silence, and erase LGBTQ people in Florida’s public schools.”
The suit was filed by attorneys for Kaplan Hecker & Fink LLP and the National Center for Lesbian Rights on behalf of Equality Florida and Family Equality, as well as a number of students, parents and one teacher, Politico reported.
DeSantis, the Florida Department of Education, the state Board of Education, and a number of local school boards are among the defendants.
The 80-page complaint argues that the legislation violates the First and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution and federal Title IX rules. The law is an “extraordinary government intrusion on the free speech and equal protection rights” in public schools, the plaintiffs argue.
NR Daily is delivered right to you every afternoon. No charge.
Get Jim Geraghty’s tour of the political news in your inbox every day.
Get Kevin D. Williamson’s newsletter delivered to your inbox each Tuesday.
A weekly digest on business and economics from an NR sensibility.
Opponents of the legislation, which Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law on Monday, have called it the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, though the law does not prohibit teachers, administrators or students from saying the word.
The bill was designed to give parents the power to determine when and how their children learn about sensitive subjects. Aside from banning instruction on gender identity and sexual orientation from elementary school classrooms, it also adds that such instruction may not occur in other grades “that is not age appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards.”
The complaint, which was filed in Florida’s northern district in Tallahassee, argues that LGBTQ students and parents are “unsure about whether they can express or discuss their identities” it adds that they “worry about detention or other possible discipline or exclusion that may result if they do.”
The suit criticizes the “vagueness” of the legislation, claiming that “nobody knows exactly what the statutory language covers.”
It alleges that the law puts the local plaintiffs and other members of the LGBTQ community in danger and claims that the “subordination and erasure of LGBTQ life” that the law “seeks to achieve” has already begun, imposing “concrete harms on countless children and families in Florida.”
A spokesman for DeSantis responded to the suit in a statement obtained by Politico, saying that the law “does not single out any particular group, orientation, or identity.”
“It does not prohibit student-prompted discussion,” said Bryan Griffin, deputy press secretary for DeSantis. “We are confident it is legal to protect young children and parental rights.”
This content was originally published here.