Slight Majority of Voters Support Florida’s LGBT Education Bill, Poll Finds

A narrow majority of U.S. voters support Florida’s Parental Rights in Education Bill, which prohibits the teaching of sexual orientation and gender identity to public school students in kindergarten through third grade.

Fifty-one percent of those polled approve of the measure while 35 percent oppose it, according to a new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll of registered voters.

“Classroom instruction by school personnel or third parties on sexual orientation or gender identity may not occur in kindergarten through grade 3 or in a manner that is not age appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards,” the bill reads.

Pertaining to the second half of that provision, 52 percent of respondents also agreed with making sure sexuality and gender discussion after third grade is “age appropriate.” The bill empowers parents to sue school districts they believe to be violating the law by offering curricula on LGBT topics before third grade, an enforcement mechanism that only 41 percent of those polled support while 43 percent oppose.

Public opinion on the bill fell along partisan lines, with 70 percent of Republican voters backing Florida’s legislation and 51 percent of Democrats rejecting it. Independents helped shift the balance with 46 percent supporting it and 35 percent opposing it.

Progressives at the state and national level have decried the initiative and dubbed it the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, despite the fact that such language is missing from the text. That language was also used in the poll questions.

The legislation caused an uproar among Disney employees, who pressured CEO Bob Chapek to release a statement of solidarity with the LGBTQ community and demand that Governor Ron DeSantis rescind the measure. When DeSantis refused to acquiesce after a phone call with Chapek, who voiced his concerns with the bill, Disney announced it would be suspending political donations in the state pending a review. DeSantis subsequently crafted an ad showcasing his opposition to Disney.

While DeSantis did not propose the Parental Rights in Education bill, he has been a staunch advocate. “As the parent of three kids that are age 5 and under, thank you for letting me and my wife be able to send our kids to kindergarten without them being sexualized,” he said at a press conference this week.

Florida’s bill comes amid heightened parental awareness in the state and others with similar political makeup over classroom curricula in K-12 public schools, especially relating to radically progressive pedagogy such as gender ideology and critical race theory. Florida has blazed the trail on social issues since the pandemic began, using the Republican dominated state legislature and governorship to advance conservative policy goals, including bans on critical race theory, transgender athletes in women’s sports, and now sexual education for elementary schoolers.

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