Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law Monday a parental rights bill that bans teachers from giving classroom instruction on "sexual orientation" or "gender identity" in kindergarten through third grade.
"In Florida, we not only know that parents have a right to be involved, we insist that parents have a right to be involved," DeSantis said at a press conference at the Classical Preparatory School in Spring Hill, Florida.
The Parental Rights in Education bill, which passed the Republican-controlled state legislature this month, has been dubbed the "Don’t Say Gay" bill by Democrats who misleadingly claim it bans any discussion pertaining to being gay in Florida schools.
The bill was mocked at the Oscars Sunday night, with co-hosts Wanda Sykes, Amy Schumer and Regina Hall repeating the word "gay" as the crowd applauded.
DeSantis hit back at his critics in Hollywood, saying, "If the people who held up degenerates like Harvey Weinstein as exemplars and as heroes and as all that, if those are the types of people that are opposing us on parents’ rights, I wear that like a badge of honor."
"They don't want to admit that they support a lot of the things that we're providing protections against," he said.
"For example, they support sexualizing kids in kindergarten. They support injecting woke gender ideology into second grade classrooms. … And so what they're doing with these slogans and these narratives is they are trying to camouflage their true intentions."
President Biden called it a "hateful bill" in a tweet last month.
But absent from much of the discussion around the bill are the actual contents of the legislation.
The bill does prohibit classroom instruction on "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" with children in third grade or younger, "or in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards."
The bill does not ban the word "gay" in school settings, and it does not ban casual discussions of topics relating to sexual orientation and gender identity in the classroom.
DeSantis spokeswoman Christina Pushaw said in a statement earlier Monday that the governor is unfazed by threats of boycotts against the state over the bill.
"Many of the tourists in Florida have visited us from states with mandates and restrictions, to enjoy the freedoms and sense of normalcy that Florida has become renowned for, under Gov, DeSantis‘ leadership," she wrote. "Business is thriving here as well, because the governor has kept our state open, and our tax burden remains the lowest in the country.
"These are things that everyone can appreciate, regardless of their gender or sexual orientation," she added. "Therefore, we are not concerned about boycotts or other economic harm to Florida as a result of any legislation. But even if we were: no amount of money would convince Governor DeSantis to change his position. He will always stand for parental rights and protecting children."