Home>Highlight>Platkin co-leads court challenge to Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law

Acting New Jersey Attorney General Matt Platkin. (Photo: New Jersey State Police/Tim Larsen).

Platkin co-leads court challenge to Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law

16-state-and-district coalition argues law has no pedagogical purpose

By Joey Fox, August 04 2022 10:34 am

Acting Attorney General Matt Platkin announced today that he and Washington DC Attorney General Karl Racine will lead a 16-state-and-district coalition opposing Florida’s Parental Rights in Education law, often known as the “Don’t Say Gay” law.

“In New Jersey, we are deeply committed to protecting LGBTQ individuals from discrimination and to celebrating the important contributions they make to our communities,” Platkin said in a statement. “Sadly, Florida has taken the opposite approach. The ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law is plainly unconstitutional, and it will stigmatize and harm countless LGBTQ youth in Florida and beyond.”

The coalition has filed an amicus brief in U.S. District Court in Florida arguing that the law serves no educational purpose and will only be used to discriminate against LGBTQ students.

“[All] aspects of the law make it a radical outlier,” the brief reads. “Indeed, no other state educational law sweeps as broadly as Florida’s or targets the LGBTQ community in the same way. That undermines any genuine assertion that the act furthers educational goals.”

The law, which was signed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in March, bars classroom instruction on sexuality and gender identity until third grade and limits it in higher grades; it also gives parents the ability to sue school districts for violations. While the effects of the law are less broad than they were under the initial bill text, Florida teachers have warned of the “chilling effect” it could have on LGBTQ acceptance.

Many New Jersey Democrats have condemned the law and promoted New Jersey as an LGBTQ safe haven. But some Republicans have used New Jersey’s own controversies regarding sex education in schools to push for similar legislation that would limit LGBTQ topics in the state’s schools.

“The new curriculum being foisted on us by the Murphy administration is not only absurd and unnecessary, but it is incredibly insulting to every parent in the state,” State Sen. Ed Durr (R-Logan) said of a bill he introduced that goes even further than Florida’s law. “Gender identity and sexual orientation are complicated subjects and I don’t think you will find a rational person in this country that thinks teaching such subjects to first- and second-grade students is a good idea.”

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