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Tipsheet

Lawsuits Targeting Florida's Parental Rights Law Gets Puff Piece Coverage

AP Photo/Robin Rayne

Earlier this week, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the Parental Rights in Education Act into law, which had already triggered a freakout from those critics claiming that the bill deserved to be referred to as the "Don't Say Gay" bill. As of Thursday, the bill is already facing some particularly strong-willed lawsuits, as profiled by Madeline Carlisle for TIME. "'I Hope This Law Is Obliterated.' Plaintiffs in the First Lawsuit Challenging 'Don't Say Gay' in Florida Speak Out," her headline screams. 

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The plaintiffs in question are Lourdes Casares and Kimberly Feinberg, two married women living in Florida with a child who is in a public elementary school in Miami-Dade county. "After they wed in 2016 when same-sex marriage became legal in Florida, they thought they would be guaranteed all the “rights and privileges” that come with it, Casares says, including having their child be protected and treated equally under the law," Carlisle's piece dramatically begins in part.

There's no indication, though, that Casares and Feinberg, as well as their child, will not have those "rights and privileges," including when it comes to "having their child be protected and treated equally under the law."

The law deals with parental rights so that children are not subject to being taught matters of sexuality and gender identity that are not appropriate to their age group, specifically those children in kindergarten through third grade. The law also addresses lessons for older children. 

"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," the text reads.

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To see why this law is needed, one only need to go quickly peruse the Libs of TikTok Twitter account to see what teachers are subjecting impressionable minors to, in Florida, but also across the country. Matt on Friday reported on the horrifying news of teachers giving puberty blockers to children 11 and 12 in Connecticut, without parental consent. 

Some teachers are so upset that they cannot impose an LGBT lifestyle on children that they feel they have to quit the profession in Florida. 

When it comes to the "Don't Say Gay" labeling of the bill, Carlisle runs right with it. Not including the title, Carlisle uses the phrase five times to describe the bill. While she does share, early in the article, that it's the Parental Rights in Education Act, she does so in a noteworthy way. 

"So they have been alarmed, Casares says, to watch the swift advancement of Florida House Bill 1557—called the “Parental Rights in Education Act” by supporters and the “Don’t Say Gay” law by critics—through the Florida legislature," she writes. It's not that it's called that by supporters, it's known as that on the Florida House of Representatives website. 

Other plaintiffs in the lawsuit, described by Carlisle include:

Casares and Feinberg are both plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed Thursday morning challenging the law, arguing the legislation violates the Constitution. They are joined by others including two additional same-sex couples with young children, a trans fifth grader, two LGBTQ high school students, a mother of a child who has expressed “no specific” gender identity, and a middle school English teacher. They are represented by the public interest law firm the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) and the law firm Kaplan Hecker & Fink, and joined by LGBTQ advocacy groups Equality Florida and Family Equality as organizational plaintiffs.

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For what it's worth, fifth graders are usually 10 or 11 years old, and may not even have gone through puberty yet, though somehow a plaintiff in the case at that age believes he or she is trans. It's not noted how old the child with "'no specific' gender identity" is, but such is also a further tragic disregard for biology. 

In closing her piece, Carlisle discusses Casares and Feinberg, as well as other activists' plans ahead:

The election is still months away, and it can take a long time before litigation reaches a final resolution. In the meantime, Casares and Feinberg talked to their child about the law. They say their kid responded: “I don’t care, I’m going to say gay anyways.”

They’re hoping their lawsuit will make sure their child and other children throughout the state can keep that pride and confidence—and can keep talking about and learning about their families and their own identities in a safe environment with their peers. “[The law] is unnecessary and really has the potential to hurt so, so many people,” Casares says. “I hope this law is obliterated.”

With Carlisle and others in the mainstream media, as well as the bill's critics, no wonder a child is being led to believe "I'm going to say gay anyways" would be an issue.

Carlisle also wrote a piece for TIME as it pertained to transgender people in Ukraine, which I highlighted last month

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