Commentary

DeSantis Stands for Parental Rights

By Bill Donohue | March 29, 2022 | 2:50pm EDT
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at a rally for former President Donald Trump. (Photo credit: MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at a rally for former President Donald Trump. (Photo credit: MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis earned the admiration of fathers and mothers when he signed the Parental Rights in Education bill. Their rights have been slipping away, not only in Florida but throughout the nation, as sex-crazed activists, school administrators, and teachers have sought to supplant them, making unauthorized and damaging decisions affecting their children. 

Most people have never read the bill. If they listened to those branding it the "Don't Say Gay" bill, they would think it is a hate speech bill. This is a total lie. 

To begin with, the following terms never appear in the legislation: heterosexual, homosexual, straight, gay, bisexual, intersex, non-binary, and transgender (the last three categories are a fiction — they don't exist in real life). The bill is about parental rights. It is also about protecting children from sexual engineers, namely those who treat kids as though they were a toy that they can play with to further their own agenda. 

Here are some of the highlights of the bill:

  • School district school boards must "reinforce the fundamental right of parents to make decisions regarding the upbringing and control of their children in a specified manner."
  • School district personnel are prohibited from "discouraging or prohibiting parental notification and involvement in critical decisions affecting a student's mental, emotional, or physical well-being."
  • School district personnel are prohibited from "classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity in certain grade levels or in a specified manner."
  • "Classroom instruction by school personnel or third parties on sexual orientation or gender identity may not occur in kindergarten through grade 3 or in a manner that is not age appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards." 

Who could possibly object to these standards of common sense and common decency? (Most of the following comments were made prior to the bill's passage.)

President Biden called the bill "hateful." Disney said it "should never have passed and should never have been signed into law." Oscar hosts slammed it, jumping and screaming, "gay, gay, gay." 

Ana Navarro whined that "the message it sends is a very chilling one for LGBTQ families." Whoopi Goldberg said the bill is "shaming" queers and "punishing" teachers. Andy Cohen labeled it "one big dog whistle" that is "scaring people into spewing hate and discrimination at the LGBTQ community."

Gay rights groups are just as irresponsible. 

The Human Rights Campaign complained that "LGBTQ+ students may wonder if they're allowed to even acknowledge their own sexuality or gender identity." Nadine Smith from Equality Florida charged that DeSantis "attacked parents and children in our state by invoking hateful anti-LGBTQ stereotypes." 

Lambda Legal blasted the bill for giving "the 'green light' to teach intolerance, allow harassment, and fail to confront violence against LGBTQ+ youth and their families." 

An editorial in the Washington Post said proponents of the bill "invoke the bogeyman of school systems infringing on 'parental rights,' arguing that such conversations should be led by parents and families." 

Kara Swisher, a New York Times opinion writer, said, "Let's call it what it is, trans- and homophobia." 

Robin Maril at Slate blamed insecure politicians who "rely on religiously based divisive messaging because it works. The theology of autocracy, meanwhile, uses the mantel of the church to promote nationalistic conformity while also channeling fear and anger toward communities that can't or won't conform."

This is the kind of hysteria we have come to expect from left-wing sources.

There is nothing "hateful" about the bill. It does not "shame" queers or "punish" teachers. Nor are LGBT parents and children in any way "attacked" by the legislation. The curriculum does not teach intolerance, never mind "fail to confront violence" against anyone. Nor is there anything "phobic" about the bill. And it certainly has nothing to do with promoting the "theology of autocracy," whatever that is. 

Best of all is the Washington Post's mention of "parental rights." News Flash: There is nothing so-called about the rights of parents — they exist — and there is nothing debatable about contemporary assaults on them.  

Kudos to Gov. DeSantis. He speaks for Americans way beyond Florida, including most practicing Catholics.

Bill Donohue is president and CEO of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, the nation's largest Catholic civil rights organization. He was awarded his Ph.D. in sociology from New York University and is the author of nine books and many articles.

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