Judge rejects challenge to Florida’s parental rights law

by WorldTribune Staff / 247 Real News February 17, 2023

A federal judge on Wednesday dismissed a challenge to Florida’s Parental Rights in Education law which restricts the discussion of sexuality and gender identity with the state’s younger public school students.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the Parental Rights in Education bill into law in March 2022.

Opponents refer to the legislation championed by Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis as the “Don’t Say Gay” law.

U.S. District Judge Allen Winsor determined that the group of Florida students, parents, and teachers who challenged the law failed to prove that they had standing to bring the case to the federal bench.

“Plaintiffs have shown a strident disagreement with the new law, and they have alleged facts to show its very existence causes them deep hurt and disappointment,” Winsor said, according to the Miami Herald. “But to invoke a federal court’s jurisdiction, they must allege more.”

Winsor had dismissed an earlier version of the same case in September 2022, saying at the time that the plaintiffs were claiming harm derived from the law’s mere existence instead of its enforcement.

To advance the new lawsuit, Judge Winsor determined the plaintiffs needed to show that they were directly harmed because of the new law and to prove that a ruling from the court could address it, which he said they failed to do.

Specifically, the law states that “[c]lassroom instruction by school personnel or third parties on sexual orientation or gender identity may not occur in Kindergarten through third grade or in a manner that is not age appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards.”

A Public Opinion Strategies poll conducted in March of last year indicated that 61% of respondents supported the measure after reading it.

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