Florida Republicans Advance Bill That Would Ban Pride Flag In Classrooms

GOP lawmakers have spent years passing laws that target LGBTQ+ Floridians.
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Florida Republicans advanced a new House bill on Wednesday that would ban teachers and government officials from displaying pride flags and those that champion the Black Lives Matter movement.

The bill, HB 901, would bar the display of any flag that represents a “political viewpoint, including, but not limited to, a politically partisan, racial, sexual orientation and gender, or political ideology viewpoint.” State Rep. David Borrero (R), the bill’s co-sponsor, rejected calls the legislation was homophobic and hateful, telling the Associated Press it was meant to protect kids from radicalization.

“Public classrooms should not be the place where our kids go to be radicalized and evangelized into accepting these partisan, radical ideologies,” Borrero told the outlet. “It’s wholly inappropriate to be putting those types of flags in front of public school students and in government buildings.”

He went on to say the bill’s language would allow flags of sovereign states recognized by the United States to be displayed. But the flag of Palestine, which is not recognized by the U.S., would not be allowed, he told the AP. Teachers would also not even be allowed to wear a lapel pin bearing such flags.

Students would not be included in the ban.

A rainbow LGBTQ+ pride flag hangs outside a business down the block from the Wilton Manors city hall, which sometimes flies a rainbow flag from its facade.A bill moving forward in the Florida State House would ban the display of any flag deemed political in government buildings. The legislation is seen as another anti-LGBTQ+ bill in a state that has passed several under Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis.
A rainbow LGBTQ+ pride flag hangs outside a business down the block from the Wilton Manors city hall, which sometimes flies a rainbow flag from its facade.A bill moving forward in the Florida State House would ban the display of any flag deemed political in government buildings. The legislation is seen as another anti-LGBTQ+ bill in a state that has passed several under Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis.
AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell

Democrats and human rights groups immediately blasted the proposal as another attack against the state’s queer community.

“Are we in Russia? Are we in Cuba? That’s authoritarianism. That’s fascism at it’s best,” state Sen. Shevrin Jones (D), who is Black and gay, told the AP. “How I was raised, the rainbow meant hope. ... I can promise you it wasn’t that that made me gay.”

State Rep. Dotie Joseph, a Democrat from Miami Beach, said the bill “validates hate.”

“The problem with this bill is, in addition to the constitutional issues, that it fosters the same kind of intolerance that breeds the violence that makes our communities unsafe,” Joseph told the Tampa Bay Times. “And how it does that is by, instead of fostering tolerance, we focus on intolerance for culture wars.”

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) has championed his war against “wokeness” through the passage and expansion of the so-called “Don’t Say Gay” bill. That law bars teachers in many classrooms from discussion sexual orientation or gender identity. Republicans have also targeted drag queens and passed legislation to limit transgender young people’s access to gender-affirming medical care.

The bill must be approved by the Florida House’s State Affairs Committee, per the Tampa Bay Times. If it secures that approval it would go to the full chamber for a vote. It’s unclear if DeSantis would sign it.

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