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White House press secretary Jen Psaki has strongly condemned a Florida parental rights bill that Democrats have called a “don’t say gay” bill, despite the fact that the bill does not ban the word “gay” in schools.
PSAKI called the legislation ‘discriminatory,’ ‘horrible’ and ‘a form of intimidation’ against LGBTQ families and children at a press conference on Wednesday, dodging a question about why President Biden voted for similar legislation when he was a U.S. senator in 1994.
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The law project, HB 1557, requires school districts to adopt procedures that “enforce the fundamental right of parents to make decisions about the education and control of their children.” It prohibits classroom teaching — not informal discussion — about ‘sexual orientation’ and ‘gender identity’ with children in grade three or younger, ‘or in any way that is not appropriate to the age or development of the pupils in accordance with State standards”.
A reporter asked Psaki about the bill, noting that in 1994, Biden voted for an amendment to an education bill to “prohibit the use of federal funds intended for educational materials, instruction, counseling, or other services on the school grounds, for the promotion of ‘homosexuality as a positive alternative to a way of life’.
“Why did he do that? asked the reporter. “And can you describe how his thinking has evolved over the years?
“Well, I think you’ve seen the president speak passionately about his view that a bill like this – a bill that would discriminate against families, against children, would put those children in a position of not getting the support they need at a time when it is exactly what they need – is discriminatory,” Psaki said. “It’s a form of bullying. It’s horrible. I mean, the president talked about it.”
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Last month, Biden called the legislation a “hate bill,” reassuring “all members of the LGBTQI+ community” that “my administration will continue to fight for the protections and security you deserve.”
PSAKI referenced Biden’s views from 1994, then immediately pivoted to attack current legislation.
“In terms of his opinions and comments from 25 years ago, I think the most important question now is: Why are Florida leaders deciding they must discriminate against child members of the LGBTQI community? ” she says. “What drives them to do this?” Is it wickedness?
“Did he want the kids to have a tougher time in school, in their communities?” she asked. “I’ll ask them that question, and we can talk more about it tomorrow if you get an answer.”
PSAKI did not specify how the bill would “discriminate” against certain children and families.
republican governor Ron DeSantiswho should sign the invoice, blasted a WFLA reporter Monday for using the misnomer “Don’t Say Gay” during a press conference.
“Is it said in the bill?” DeSantis asked, adding “that’s why people don’t trust people like you because you’re peddling false stories.”
“And we’re going to make sure that parents can send their child to kindergarten without having some of these things injected into their curriculum,” the governor said.
Although critics called it a “Don’t Say Gay” bill, HB 1557 does not ban the word “gay” in schools. It also does not prohibit informal discussions of topics related to sexual orientation and gender identity in the classroom. It does not require schools to notify parents if their child identifies as gay or transgender.
Although the bill requires schools to notify parents of every health care service offered at the school (allowing them to opt out of any service) and to allow parents access to school and medical records of their children, it does not require schools to inform parents of the existence of their children. mental, emotional, or physical well-being “if a reasonably prudent person would believe that disclosure would result in abuse, abandonment, or neglect.”
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Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ office did not respond to an after-hours request for comment on the PSAki charges.
Fox News’ Jessica Chasmar contributed to this report.