Massachusetts AG Healey part of challenge to law that bans classroom instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity to younger children
BOSTON – Attorney General Maura Healey Thursday announced the filing of a court brief in support of a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Florida’s law that restricts teaching and discussion of topics relating to sexual orientation and gender identity in public schools.
In the brief, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida, a coalition of 16 attorneys general support the lawsuit – Equality Florida v. DeSantis – brought on behalf of students, parents, teachers, and LGBTQ+ rights groups in opposition to Florida’s law and asks the court to deny Florida’s motion to dismiss.
The law, Parental Rights in Education Act (H.B. 1557), bans “classroom instruction . . . on sexual orientation or gender identity” in kindergarten through third grade. In their brief, the attorneys general argue that the law is an “extreme outlier” that lacks a “legitimate pedagogical purpose.” No other state educational law sweeps as broadly. Because of the law’s vague prohibitions, and the ability for a parent to bring a civil claim against a school district, Florida teachers are already censoring themselves out of fear of enforcement.
“Florida’s hate-fueled law is the censorship of LGTBQ+ issues at a time when school communities should be creating an educational environment that is inclusive of everyone,” said AG Healey. “With my colleagues across the country, we are asking the court to put an end to this radical policy and protect LGBTQ+ young people and their families from further harm.”
According to the brief, state policies across the country allow educators to address LGBTQ+ issues, with educational decisions left to the discretion of schools and teachers. Florida, by contrast, has chosen a starkly different path. “It stands alone in its censorship of instruction related to LGBTQ issues and in its imposition of legal liability on school districts that do not censor LGBTQ issues,” the brief reads.
The attorneys general also argue that Florida’s law will stigmatize and harm LGBTQ+ youth. According to the brief, research shows that a failure to provide LGBTQ-inclusive classroom instruction adversely affects LGBTQ+ students’ mental health and learning outcomes, and that it results in increased anti-LGBTQ bias. Further, the harms stemming from Florida’s law will extend beyond Florida’s borders, harming children in the custody of other states that may be placed with families in Florida.
AG Healey is joining the amicus brief alongside attorneys general from New Jersey, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New York, and Oregon.
Handling the matter for Massachusetts is Deputy State Solicitor David Kravitz and Liza Hirsch, Director of the AG’s Children’s Justice Unit.
August 6, 2022 at 6:28 am
Under NO circumstances should any children Kindergarten through 3rd grade be learning ANYTHING ” LGBTQ ” related. It’s pseudo-science activist lies where boys can be girls and vise-versa. Maura Healy should keep her nose out of Florida’s business and concentrate on the problems in Massachusetts which she is paid to do.
August 7, 2022 at 10:29 am
Science doesn’t agree with your ignorant opinion. I really don’t believe you follow any science. I’m willing to bet you base everything on fake religion.
August 6, 2022 at 6:33 am
They want fresh young minds pliable to their LGBTQ religion. The old St Ignatius Loyola quote rings true ” Give us a child until he’s 7 and we’ll have him for life. “
August 7, 2022 at 10:32 am
But I’m sure you’re okay with indoctinating children to fake fascist religions from age zero. Is that what happened to you? Did your parents force you to believe in something at a very young age? You’re probably okay with bullying a young gay child? Is that what you did when you were that age? It must suck to have a closed narrow mind.
August 7, 2022 at 11:23 am
Look at this coward. Won’t even post under his chosen pronouns.
August 8, 2022 at 8:24 am
Still a bully I see!
August 9, 2022 at 5:21 am