FLORIDA — Legislation that would expand a law critics rebuke as “Don’t Say Gay” is on its way to Gov. Ron DeSantis.

What You Need To Know

  • The bill bans gender and sexual orientation instruction until high school

  • It also restricts the use of gender pronouns

  • A separate measure passed Wednesday regulates bathroom use by gender

  • Both bills await Gov. DeSantis’ consideration

The bill prohibits classroom instruction related to gender and sexual orientation until high school, instead of third grade. It also restricts the use of gender pronouns in the classroom.

The Senate passed the proposal Wednesday along a party-line vote. It now awaits Gov. Ron DeSantis’ consideration.

“This bill is not really about protecting children and educators,” said Senate Minority Leader Lauren Book. “This bill is about discrimination against people who are different than you are.”

The bill empowers parents and the Florida Department of Education to review and scrutinize school materials. Teachers must also teach that biological gender is “unchanging” during classroom instruction.

Senate Republicans say the legislation is in response to an alleged rise of ideologically driven curriculum in the classroom. They also say it puts parents at the forefront of sexual education.

“It is really that we are introducing a very adult agenda to children at a young age that frankly is very inappropriate,” said Fort Pierce Republican Sen. Erin Grall.

The bill’s passage comes on the same day as the House approved a bill regulating bathroom use in Florida. Under the measure, a person who refuses to leave a bathroom that does not correspond with their sex at birth could face charges. The law applies to publicly owned facilities, like universities or state parks.

Supporters say the measure is intended to protect children and families. Critics, however, say the legislation is cruel and unneeded.

If signed into law, both proposals would take effect July 1. The 2023 Legislative Session, meanwhile, is slated to end May 5.