Watch CBS News

Billboard Welcomes Travelers To Florida With "Don't Say Gay" Message

TAMPA, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) - Organizations are reacting to a very controversial billboard now up in Tampa.

The billboard was put up by the Human Rights Campaign organization and targets the 'Don't Say Gay' bill signed into law by Governor Ron DeSantis almost a month ago.

"The entire state doesn't back this up," said Trevor James, the president of PFLAG Tampa.

"The democrats have to market this in a way that makes republicans look bad," said Jake Hoffman with Tampa Bay Young Republicans.

Driving through Tampa and other parts of Florida, you may see a sign saying "Governor Ron DeSantis welcomes you to Florida"…and instead of "The Sunshine State" it says "The Don't Say Gay or Trans State." It's a billboard James is happy to see.

"It was nice to see from a queer person's perspective," said James.

The signs recently put up by the organization called the Human Rights Campaign targets the Parental Rights in Education Law also known as the "Don't Say Gay" Law.

"These billboards are a reminder that when you step into Florida, you're entering a state where politicians like Governor Ron DeSantis are using the levers of government to dictate what you can do or say or be," said Justin Unga with the Human Rights Campaign.

The "Don't Say Gay" bill, signed into law almost a month ago by Governor DeSantis, keeps educators in the state from having instructional conversations about sexual orientation or gender identity in kindergarten through third grades.

"This bill is about parental rights and making sure parents have the ability to understand what is going on with their kids when they go to school," said Hoffman.

Hoffman argues that the billboard is vague.

"You put up three word slogans that do not explain the bill ,that do not explain the position of the democrats and they don't actually want to talk about the policy behind it," said Hoffman.

He says the policy is necessary for children at a young age.

"They're kids, they can't really think for themselves so if you turn their world view upside down in Kindergarten, then they are going to have an upside down world view," said Hoffman.

On the other hand, Unga says the goal of the sign is to emphasize that the policy discriminates against the LGBTQ community.

"What's missing unfortunately is the recognition of all parents. That includes the parents of gay kids and trans kids," said Unga.

"We just want to be ourselves openly in public and not feel suppressed for it," said James.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.