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Florida House Approves 'Don't Say Gay' Bill

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Florida House passed a bill Thursday that would ban certain discussions of gender identity and sexual orientation in schools.

The Parental Rights in Education bill, known to its critics as the "Don't Say Gay" bill, passed by 69 to 47 votes.

HB 1557 prohibits instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity in kindergarten through third grade, and, in other grade levels, must be deemed "age or developmentally appropriate.

"It sends a terrible message to youth that something so wrong, so inappropriate, so dangerous about this topic that we have to censor it," said Democratic State Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith from Orlando.

Democrats gathered around him on the house floor as he made an impassioned plea. The bill would ban instruction on sexual orientation and gender indenting in kindergarten through third grade.

"This is an anti-gay bill," said Miami Beach Democrat Michael Grieco.

Broward Republican Tom Fabricio said, "This bill simply talks about curriculum, the curriculum that's taught to little children in their classrooms age 5-9.  We need to make sure that choice belongs to parents."

Supporters say the bill does not out kids, like opponents feared, and does not ban classroom discussion, just instruction.

"6-9 year olds should not be taught gender identity of sexual orientation at that age.  It's that simple," Miami-Dade Republican Juan Alfonso Fernandez Barquin.

In addition, it allows parents to sue a school they think violates this.

There is a nearly identical bill going through the Florida Senate.

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